Does workers’ comp cover remote employees?

When people think of someone receiving workers’ compensation, they might picture a construction worker injured by a piece of equipment, or a nurse who damaged her shoulder transporting a patient.  

Workers’ compensation covers all kinds of employees who get injured on the job – but historically the injury happened in a traditional workplace, not at home or remote location. malte helmhold m0r4a8nMarw unsplash

As the workplace is being redefined, people are asking, “Are remote workers eligible for compensation if they get hurt while they’re on the clock?” 

The answer is: Maybe. 

In general, employees must be able to demonstrate they’re doing something for their employer at the time of injury to be eligible for benefits. 

Think of this situation: An employee falls and injures her ankle and knee after getting up from a recliner. It happened when she was on the phone with a client and was getting keys so she could pick up paperwork. In a case like that, she could make a strong case she was working when she got hurt and was eligible for benefits.  

Now, if it turns out she was talking to a friend and planning to drive to get lunch, her claim would likely be denied.  

Regardless of the changes and uncertainties caused by the pandemic and more flexible work schedules and locations, some basic things remain true. People who are injured while working shouldn’t just brush it off. They should document what happened and when and report it as soon as possible to their employers.  

These sorts of records can be critical to determining who is responsible for medical bills and other expenses.  

Of course, some things never change, whether you’re working on a construction site or in your kitchen.  

After taking care of any immediate injuries, workers should make sure they have good legal counsel. I’ve seen too many people miss out on the compensation they deserve because they didn’t have someone on their side who knows the system and who has the time and experience to fight back against employers and insurers who don’t want to pay what they owe.  

It’s easy: Most attorneys will even meet on Zoom now! 

Joseph C. “Joe” Biscone II is the managing partner of Johnson & Biscone and one of Oklahoma’s premier workers’ compensation attorneys. 

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