Do Remote Employees Qualify for Workers’ Comp?
2020 has brought many changes to how we live thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many people already worked from home before businesses shut down, the number of remote employees has increased exponentially since March. Some companies realized that remote work can increase employee satisfaction and lower overhead costs, so they are continuing remote work whenever possible. Remote work raises many questions for employees, including: what happens if you are injured while working from home? Does workers’ compensation cover your medical care and lost wages? The answer will vary depending on state laws. The following is some information about coverage for remote workers in Missouri. For questions regarding your specific situation and work injury, contact our Missouri workers’ compensation attorneys.
Workers’ Compensation Eligibility
In order for a work injury to be covered by workers’ compensation, the employee must prove that the injury happened in the course of their employment. This does not mean you must be on work premises, as you can receive benefits for a car accident while you were driving for work, for example. But does an injury that happens while you are on the clock at home qualify as “in the course of your employment?” Missouri has not yet announced how workers’ compensation will apply to remote workers in light of COVID-19. However, some requirements for eligibility of injuries that happen away from work premises include:
- The injury was not caused by a risk or hazard unrelated to your employment
- You would not have been equally exposed to the hazard outside of your employment in your normal life
In order to determine whether you might receive benefits, first, our lawyers will consider what caused your injuries. If it is a repetitive strain injury (RSI) like carpal tunnel from typing for work, it should be covered. This is because typing for hours a day is likely something you don’t do in your non-employment life. Similarly, if you have to turn on your work computer by bending under your desk, and you suffer an injury while doing so, you could have a strong argument for workers’ compensation coverage. On the other hand, if you were walking from your home office to the kitchen and you trip on a rug and fall, spraining your ankle, you might not qualify for workers’ compensation. This is because it was not a work-related hazard, and it is also a hazard you would encounter regularly in your non-work life.
Contact a Missouri Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Right Away
The analysis of workers’ compensation coverage of remote employees can be complicated, and you want to make sure that you receive benefits when you are entitled to them. Never assume that you are not covered just because an injury happened while working from home. Instead, let an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation attorney from The Law Firm of Webster & Carlton review the circumstances of your injury and your rights. Contact us to schedule a consultation with our legal team in either Springfield or Joplin today.