Are Telecommuters Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

April 7, 2017

These workers still run the risk of being injured. They can trip and fall over loose cables or wires. They may drop something on their foot. These workers may have some work tools at home that cause accidents. Workers who use their car may be injured on the road. Workers may suffer back injuries or repetitive stress injuries. There may be a fire that requires surgery and leaves the worker unable to do his or her job.

Key issues in telecommuting work injury cases

Telecommuters can file worker’s compensation claims if they meet the general standards. There is no law that says you can only collect Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits if the accident happens at the employer’s work location. The key issues our Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys review are still the same:

  • Was the worker an employee? Only employees can bring workers’ compensation claims against their employer. Independent contractors cannot bring a workers’ compensation case against their boss. Contractors can only bring a personal injury claim if their employer was negligent. The key factor in deciding whether a worker was an employee or independent contractor is how much control over the worker the employer had. Workers who work 40 hours per week are more likely to be considered employees than workers who work 10 hours each for four different employers. Individuals who work from home can still be considered employees if they have to account for their time and the employer directs the types of the work they do.
  • Was the accident work-related? When an accident happens at the employer’s job site, it’s fairly easy to argue the job was related to work because that’s all the employee is supposed to be doing at the job site – working. When accidents happen at home, the employer’s insurance company may try to argue the worker was doing something personal, like getting something to eat. Personal work is generally not work-related.
  • Did the injuries happen because of the accident? Usually an accident is some single event such as fall, an explosion, a collision, or some identifiable incident. Injuries that are due to repetitive stress or that happen over long periods of time may not be eligible for Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits.

Telecommuting has advantages for both the employer and the employee. For the employer, it means having to provide less office space and office equipment. For the worker, it means little or no time and expense to commute to work. Many people who telecommute are high wage earners doing complicated software work. It’s only fair that, if the employer benefits by having the employee work from home or from his/her car, the employer should pay workers’ compensation benefits when a job-related accident prevents that worker from earning a living.

The Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates fight for telecommuters injured on the job. We demand the employers and insurance companies pay all the benefits the worker is entitled to. If you were hurt while working at home or while using your car, please contact us or call 888.PITT.LAW to review your case with an aggressive work injury lawyer. We handle workers’ compensation cases in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.