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Are Remote Workers Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

Remote work is a popular choice for employees in Wisconsin, with around 387,700 virtual employees in the state. Many remote employees perform essential jobs from their homes, preferring this arrangement due to its flexibility.

Workers’ compensation benefits typically cover Wisconsin employees who are injured on the job. These benefits pay for medical bills and wage replacement related to illness or injury, helping employees recover and return to work. But what happens if you suffer an injury as a remote worker?

Knowing your rights to workers’ compensation as a remote employee can help you get the benefits you are entitled to. An Appleton workers’ compensation attorney at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can review your case and provide legal advice based on your circumstances.

On-the-Job Risks to Remote Workers

Depending on your job, working remotely can present some risks and hazards to your physical and mental health. These risks most often include:

  • Workspace Injuries: These injuries are typically the result of slips, trips, or falls within your home office environment. For example, you might trip over computer cords or slip on a liquid spill near your work area.
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries: These injuries develop from repeated motions, such as using a mouse or typing. They can lead to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis due to the strain on muscles and tendons.
  • Mental Health Challenges: These issues can emerge from the isolation felt by working remotely or the difficulty in separating work life from personal life, potentially leading to anxiety or depression.
  • Vision Problems: These problems are often caused by staring at computer screens for extended periods without adequate breaks, resulting in symptoms like eye strain, blurred vision, or dry eyes.
  • Machinery or Equipment Injuries: These injuries can occur using job-related machinery or equipment. For example, a poorly secured shelf used to store heavy work-related items could collapse, leading to injury, or improper use of office equipment like paper shredders or printers could result in cuts or entanglements.

Can You Get Workers’ Comp Benefits as a Remote Worker?

You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as a remote worker under specific circumstances, including:

  • You must meet the definition of an employee, which states that your employer can direct or require you to work at certain times in exchange for wages and benefits. This means you cannot get workers’ comp payments if you are an independent contractor.
  • You must have suffered the injury or illness while performing job-related duties. For instance, if you decided to run a personal errand during work hours and get injured, you wouldn’t be eligible for compensation.

Here’s an overview of situations where workers’ comp might cover you versus when it typically wouldn’t apply.

ScenarioIs It Covered by Workers’ Compensation?Reason
Injuring your wrist while typing a report for workYesThe injury occurred during job-related duties.
Falling off a ladder while setting up a home office workspaceYesThe injury occurred in the course of setting up a necessary work environment.
Developing chronic eye strain leading to severe vision problems from work-related computer useYesThe condition was directly caused by job-related activities.
Suffering from back pain after hours of sitting in a non-ergonomic chair provided by your employerYesThe injury is related to work environment and conditions.
Experiencing severe depression due to work-related stress and lack of supportYesThe condition must result from mental stress greater than the day-to-day emotional strain and tensions all employees experience.
Injuring yourself while on a break to do personal shoppingNoThe injury occurred during a personal errand and is not related to work duties.
Spraining an ankle during a personal fitness workout in the middle of the workdayNoThe injury is not related to job duties and occurred during personal activity.

Let Us Help You with Your Workers’ Compensation Case

As a remote worker, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you sustain injuries or illnesses while working. However, eligibility can be complicated, and insurers may try to deny your claim due to the unique circumstances of working from home.

Our qualified legal team at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers has the experience to help you navigate your case. We can review the circumstances of your injury, ensure you meet workers’ compensation criteria, help you file the claim, and represent you during any appeals due to unfair denials.

Get legal guidance after a workplace injury so you don’t miss out on your entitled benefits. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn your rights and get started on your claim.

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