When it comes to remote workers’ rights, many clients contacting a Columbus workers compensation attorney are not convinced that they are covered by the law. However, it is undeniable that work from home is the biggest trend in the labor market in the present and the foreseeable future.
Thus, it is important for remote workers to know their rights and obligations. In essence, nothing is different in terms of your employment conditions. No matter where you perform your job duties, you are still an employee as defined by Ohio Revised Code 4123.01(A)I1)(b). Yet, when you suffer an injury at home, you ask yourself: can I file a workers’ comp claim or will my employer deny it because I work from home?
A Personal Injury Attorney in Columbus Will Detail the Conditions of Eligibility
The first critical thing that you must prove is that you are an employee, not a freelancer or an independent contractor. Any Columbus workers compensation attorney will start by looking at your employment documents.
In some cases, when people chose to work from home, their employers made them sign some documents. They signed without paying too much attention. However, the documents prove to change their status from employee to independent contractor. In this case, you are not eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, this is not the end of the road.
A skilled personal injury attorney in Columbus can prove that you were, in effect, an employee. It will be more difficult, but not impossible to wrestle some form of compensation from your employer’s insurance company.
Location Matters a Lot in Remote Workers’ Compensation Claim Cases
Another aspect that influences whether you can collect workers compensation benefits as a remote worker as per Ohio law is the location you work from. Remote work, especially using online platforms, makes state borders irrelevant. However, they continue to matter a lot in terms of law and eligibility to file a workers’ comp claim.
Here are the two possible situations:
- You work for a business based in Ohio but live in a different US state
- You live in Ohio and work remotely for a business based in another US state.
In the first situation, you are eligible to file a claim under Ohio workers’ comp laws. In the second situation, you will have to follow the rules of workers’ comp legislation in your employer’s state. The rule is simple: the applicable law refers to the employer’s location, not the employee’s.
If you are not sure about the conditions in which remote workers can file a claim, we encourage you to contact a Columbus workers compensation attorney. We offer a free initial consultation, so you have absolutely nothing to lose.
The Challenges of Proving Remote Workers’ Injuries are Job Related
Even if you know your rights and believe that you are eligible to file a claim, it doesn’t mean that your employer’s insurance company won’t try to challenge it. There are several difficulties in proving the fact that your injury was sustained in the course of your job duties:
1. There Are No Independent Witnesses
The only people who may witness your accident are members of your household. Of course, their credibility will be challenged. After all, they are your family members and have a direct interest in helping you win worker’s comp benefits.
Some homes have surveillance cameras for security purposes. In this case, your personal injury attorney in Columbus will definitely want to use the recording in proving your case.
2. The Time of the Incident May Be Unclear
Remote workers are in the same physical space, but under two different conditions:
- On the job – at work
- Off the job – at home.
So, when did your injury take place? On the job or off the job? Here is an instance: your work schedule is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You stumble on the work provided laptop charger, fall and get a sprained wrist. The incident occurred at around 5 p.m. If it occurred until 4:59 p.m., you were on the job. If it occurred starting with 5:01 p.m., you were off the job.
In this case, it is critical to call 911 and ask for medical assistance as soon as possible after the incident. The time when you placed the call may make all the difference in the world for your workers’ compensation claim.
3. It Is Difficult to Prove Your Were Performing a Job Related Duty
Finally, even if they are on the job, remote workers may get injured while performing an unrelated task. For example, they suffer an ankle sprain while changing a light bulb or hurt their back lifting a heavy delivery parcel (not containing job related items).
Proposed Legislative Changes Will Clarify Remote Workers’ Rights Even Further
The good news is that Ohio legislators have already understood that there is a lot room for interpretation in the current legislation. However, this is not surprising. Four or five years ago, remote work was something innovative hi-tech companies offered as a bonus to attract top talents. Now, it tends to become the norm in many fields of work.
Thus, a draft titled House Bill Number 447 aims to create clear guidelines for the remote workers’ right to file a workers compensation claim. If it passes, the bill would set clear conditions to qualify for filing a claim:
- The injury arose due to the employee’s job
- The injury occurred due to a “special hazard” of the job activities
- The injury occurred while the employee was performing an activity for the employer’s exclusive benefit.
Let an Experienced Attorney Evaluate Your Columbus Workers Injury Case!
Columbus Workers’ Compensation Lawyers know all the ins and outs of the legislation covering employees’ rights if they are injured on the job. We know that winning remote workers’ claims is more challenging, but not impossible.
Since we offer you a free initial consultation, you have no reasons to avoid getting in touch with an experienced Columbus workers compensation attorney. If you have a case, we will take it and help you win the benefits you are entitled to. Schedule your first consultation now: 833-406-0060!