Workers’ compensation is available for Chattanooga employees who suffer injury or illness when the injury stems from and occurs during the course of employment, regardless of the location in which the injury happens. However, what is not always clear are the details of where and when an employee is “working.” In some cases, it can prove challenging to demonstrate an accident was work-related. The burden of proof rests upon employees to prove their injuries are directly related to their employment activities.
Remote employees are eligible for the same workers’ compensation benefits as employees who work in an office or on a job site. A remote employee who has sustained a work-related injury is qualified to receive compensation for partial wage replacement, medical expenses, and other losses. An employee may file a workers’ compensation claim if a work-related injury or illness leaves the employee unable to work during recovery ,or requires medical care that involves more than basic first aid.
You must be a remote employee to receive workers’ comp
Remote employees (also referred to as telecommuters) are not required to prove fault in order to qualify for workers’ compensation. In addition, the employee does not need to prove his or her home is in compliance with OSHA guidelines or other safety standards. The important requirements to qualify include:
- The worker is an employee, not an independent contractor
- The accident caused the worker’s injury
- The injury occurred while the employee was working
The remote worker’s burden of proof
Regarding workers’ compensation claims, the state of Tennessee operates under a no-fault system. Employees are not required to prove an employer was negligent in contributing to or causing his or her injury or illness. However, remote workers do have a burden of proof. They must demonstrate that the injury or illness they sustained occurred within the scope and course of their employment.
To file a successful workers’ compensation claim, the injured employee must demonstrate he or she was acting in the employer’s interest when the injury occurred. Any lack of control an employer has over the employee’s home based work conditions and premises does not matter when it comes to the employee’s right to workers’ compensation.
The hazards remote workers encounter at home while working are considered the hazards of his or her employment, according to common legal interpretations. The responsibility rests with employers to provide the same work environment for remote workers as for in-house employees working on company premises.
Employers may issue policies for remote workers for their own protection and for the protection of their remote employee. These policies may cover the following:
- Work hours
- Designated break times
- Job responsibilities
- Restrictions on certain activities during work hours
- Specified area(s) for work
- Safety standards or precautions to be followed
- Type of equipment or furniture to be used in the workplace
- Special work safety checklists to follow
- Required safety training
An injured employee can prove his or her injury was job-related by providing one or more of the following pieces of evidence:
- Eyewitness testimony of the accident
- Written statement from the injured employee’s treating physician
- Electronic evidence in the form of electronic logs, etc., proving the employee was working when the accident occurred
Most workers in an office or on a job site work a routine schedule, such as nine to five. However, some telecommuters work at the most convenient hours for them, which in some cases may be late at night, or even sometime between midnight and sunrise. As a remote employee, in order to help verify you were working when your accident occurred, you may be able to provide a recorded log-in and log-off time stamp from certain work-related files.
The more structured and routine your hourly schedule as a telecommuter, the easier it will likely be to prove your accident and injury occurred during work hours.
Our Chattanooga workers’ compensation attorneys at Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law understand the types of occupational accidents and illnesses employees sustain in the workplace. We are here to discuss your right to workers’ comp if you have been injured on the job, and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. To arrange a free case evaluation, give us a call today at 423.756.7923 or use our contact form to leave us a message. We offer our services to injured workers in Chattanooga, Cleveland, throughout other parts of Tennessee, and across North Georgia.