The nature of the American “workplace” has changed a great deal over the past few years. After many companies were compelled to embrace remote working situations in 2020 and 2021, many employers and employees alike discovered that they preferred either remote or hybrid working arrangements.
As a result of some truly seismic shifts in the ways that work is now done, more and more employees find themselves sustaining work-related harm in “off-site” locations. Understandably, these workers often wonder whether they are entitled to compensation as a result of their employment-related harm.
Eligibility isn’t necessarily defined by place
Generally speaking, if someone is covered by workers’ compensation insurance – or is entitled to that coverage by law – they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they sustain work-related injuries or occupational illness. There is no requirement that a qualifying full-time or part-time employee be injured in any particular place before they can successfully apply for benefits.
What matters to workers’ compensation claims adjusters is that the harm in question occurred while an eligible employee was engaged in work-related activities. As workers’ comp isn’t fault-based, eligible workers are generally entitled to benefits regardless of how their employment-related harm occurred. Unless, of course, a worker tried to get hurt in an attempt to defraud the system.
Proving the validity of a claim
With all this said, proving that an injury sustained off-site or remotely is work-related can be a uniquely challenging undertaking. Say that a worker was given a five-minute break on a Zoom training and rushed to the bathroom in their home to better ensure that they’d be present for the restart of the meeting. While running, they slipped, fell and were injured.
Proving that a slip and fall injury that occurred in one’s own bathroom is work-related can be tough. California regulators are going to need to take the unique challenges of remote work into account as their recommendations and oversight evolve. Workers too must remain informed of any changes that could occur that would make claiming workers’ comp benefits for remote injuries easier or harder.