How Does Remote Work Affect Workers Compensation In California?
- Generally, if an employee is injured while performing work-related duties, they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of whether they are working in a physical office or from home. In California, employers are required to provide workers’ compensation benefits to all employees, including remote workers, as long as the injury or illness arose out of and in the course of employment.
- Proving work-related injury or illness:
- One of the challenges of remote work is that it can be more difficult to prove that an injury or illness was work-related. When an employee works in a physical office, it is often easier to show that an injury or illness was caused by a specific work-related activity or condition. However, when an employee is working remotely, it may be more difficult to determine whether an injury or illness was work-related or caused by something else.
- In most cases, the remote worker has the burden of proof, meaning that they must be able to demonstrate that they were acting in the interest of their employer at the time they got sick or injured. However, the courts have found that, even though the employer does not have control over an employee’s home environment, lack of evidence is not a reason to deny claims.
- Safety at home:
- When employees work from home, they may be working in a home office that is not specifically designed for work. This can create safety hazards that could lead to injuries or illnesses. In California, employers are responsible for ensuring that remote workers have a safe work environment, including providing ergonomic equipment and ensuring that electrical systems are safe.
- The cold hard truth is that your employees’ home environment does not have the same safety standards you have put in place at your workplace. For example, they are at greater risk of slipping on water spilled from a dog bowl, tripping over their child’s toys, or falling down the stairs.
- Mental health issues:
- Remote work can also have an impact on workers’ mental health. Working from home can be isolating and may lead to increased stress or anxiety. In California, workers’ compensation benefits may be available for mental health issues that are caused by or aggravated by work-related stress.
Remote work can have an impact on workers’ compensation in California, but the basic principles of workers’ compensation still apply. Employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment, and employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured or become ill as a result of their work.
What If I Get Hurt When Working From Home In California?
If you get hurt while working from home in California, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In California, employers are required to provide workers’ compensation benefits to all employees, including those who work remotely, as long as the injury or illness arose out of and in the course of employment.
If you are injured while working from home, the first thing you should do is report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. This will help ensure that your employer is aware of the injury and can begin the workers’ compensation process.
After reporting the injury, you should seek medical attention if necessary. You have the right to choose your own doctor under California workers’ compensation law, but you must choose a doctor from a list of pre-approved physicians provided by your employer. Be sure to inform the doctor that your injury is work-related.
Once you have received medical treatment, you should file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This can be done online or by filling out a paper form. Your employer is required to provide you with the necessary forms and information to file a claim.
It’s important to note that the workers’ compensation system in California can be complex.
What Are The Most Common Work-From-Home Injuries in California?
The most common work-from-home injuries in California can vary depending on the type of work being performed and the home environment, but here are a few potential injuries that could occur:
- Repetitive strain injuries:
- When employees work from home, they may be using computers, laptops, and other devices for long periods of time, which can lead to repetitive strain.
- Examples: Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, rotator cuff, tennis elbow or trigger finger.
- Back pain and other ergonomic issues:
- Employees working from home may be sitting for long periods of time in chairs that are not designed for extended use, which can cause back pain and other ergonomic issues. Improperly set up computer monitors, keyboards, and mice can also contribute to ergonomic issues.
- Ex: Lower back pain, sciatica, neck pain, or herniated disc
- Trips and falls:
- Employees working from home may have cords and cables running across their workspace, leading to tripping hazards. Uneven flooring or cluttered work areas can also lead to falls.
- Ex: Falling from heights, stepping on sharp objects, falling down stairs or slipping.
- If an employee is cooking or using appliances while working from home, there is a risk of burns from hot surfaces or liquids
- Ex: Thermal burns, chemical burns, radiation burns or electrical burns
- Mental health issues:
- Remote work can be isolating and may lead to increased stress or anxiety, which can impact mental health.
- Ex: Anxiety, burnout, depression, or PTSD
To prevent these injuries, employees working from home should take regular breaks, use ergonomic equipment, and create a safe and organized workspace. Employers should also provide training and resources to help employees set up a safe and ergonomic workspace, and to promote good mental health and wellbeing.
What Is The “Coming and Going” Rule & Workers’ Comp In California
In California, the “coming and going” rule generally states that injuries sustained by employees while commuting to and from work are not considered work-related and therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if an employee is injured while driving a company vehicle to or from work, or if the employee is traveling between different work locations during the workday, the injury may be considered work-related and eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Additionally, if an employee is injured while working from home and is required to travel to another location for work-related reasons, the injury may be considered work-related and eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
It’s also worth noting that there are some exceptions to the “coming and going” rule for employees who work in certain industries, such as construction, where the job site may change frequently and commuting to and from work may be considered part of the job.
The “coming and going” rule in California can be complex, and whether an injury is considered work-related and eligible for workers’ compensation benefits will depend on the specific circumstances of the injury.
Explain Increase In Psyche & Stress Claims For Remote Workers Comp In California
The pandemic has led to a significant increase in remote work in California and across the world, which has resulted in an increase in psyche and stress claims for workers’ compensation.
Remote work can be isolating and can blur the lines between work and personal life, which can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Additionally, the pandemic has brought with it a host of new stressors, including health concerns, financial instability, and changes to daily routines.
Under California law, mental health conditions that arise as a result of work-related stress or trauma may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This includes conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological injuries.
To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for a mental health condition, the condition must be caused by work-related stress or trauma, and must be diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional.
In response to the increase in psyche and stress claims for remote workers, some employers have taken steps to promote employee mental health and wellbeing, such as offering virtual mental health resources and promoting work-life balance. Additionally, workers’ compensation insurers in California have developed programs to help employees access mental health services and support.
It’s important to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine your rights and option. Call us today at Solov and Teitell Law if you’ve ever been injured while commuting to or from work or while working remote!