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Am I eligible for workers’ compensation if I was injured while working remotely?

The Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act covers full-time and part-time employees—regardless of whether they work remotely, in the office, or have a hybrid schedule that allows them to spend some days working on-site and others at home (or elsewhere). If you suffered a compensable injury while working remotely, you may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits such as covered medical treatment, mileage reimbursement for medically-necessary travel, and temporary disability payments (also called wage replacement benefits). 

However, though the Volunteer State’s workers’ compensation system doesn’t require claimants to prove an employer’s negligence caused or contributed to their injuries, remote workers must have evidence that the injuries were work related or sustained “within the course or scope of employment.” 

Here’s what you should know about Tennessee workers’ comp claims for remote workers, including how the Weir & Kestner Injury Lawyers team can help protect your rights, file a claim, and collect the benefits you deserve. 

Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Basics

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to employees hurt while performing their job duties or otherwise acting in their employer’s interest. Tennessee requires employers in most industries to carry workers’ comp insurance if they have five or more full-time or part-time employees. However, construction and mining industry employers must have this insurance coverage even if they only employ one person.

The workers’ compensation system is designed to benefit both employees and their employers. It provides medical treatment, wage replacement payments, and other benefits to eligible injured workers to help them recover and return to their jobs as quickly as possible. Additionally, as an employee’s exclusive remedy for work injuries, workers’ comp protects employers from being sued directly. Though workers’ compensation benefits are available for most types of employees, independent contractors (including gig workers), agricultural workers, seasonal workers, and domestic staff—such as housekeepers, babysitters, and nannies—don’t qualify. 

Workers’ Comp Claims for Remote Workers

Tennessee first passed its workers’ comp law in 1919. The Tennessee Supreme Court expanded the law’s coverage in 2007 to employees who work from home or maintain home offices (Wait v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois, Tennessee Supreme Court No. 2005CC-321). Additionally, the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1972, known as the TOSH Act or TOSHA, requires employers to provide a “safe and healthful” work environment. 

Maintaining a safe workplace for remote employees can be challenging. Many employers require remote workers to follow a series of best practices to reduce their risk of slip-and-fall accidents, repetitive stress injuries, back and neck pain, and other injuries common among off-site employees. These may include designating a dedicated work area, abiding by a remote work agreement that clearly defines your duties and responsibilities, staying in regular communication with the on-site team, and using a safety checklist. 

As a remote worker, you may qualify for workers’ compensation coverage if:

  • You’re an employee.
  • You suffered a work-related injury that required medical care beyond basic first aid or prevented you from working while you recovered. 
  • You can prove you were engaged in a work-related activity or acting in the interest of your employer when the injury occurred.

What to Do If You Were Injured While Working Remotely

Follow these steps to protect your right to a workers’ comp recovery:

  • Seek immediate medical treatment 
  • Document your injuries and how the accident occurred
  • Notify your supervisor, human resources manager, or employer as soon as possible
  • Consult a knowledgeable and experienced workers’ compensation lawyer 

How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help Prove Your Injuries Qualify for Benefits

If you were hurt while working remotely, don’t expect your employer or its workers’ comp insurer to take you at your word that injuries occurred during the course and scope of employment. You’ll need proof. Fortunately, Weir & Kestner Injury Lawyers can help you gather the essential evidence, such as eyewitness accounts, a written statement from an authorized treating physician confirming your injuries are related to employment, and electronic logs or other digital proof that you were working when you got hurt.

Schedule a Consultation to Talk to Us About Your Tennessee Workers’ Comp Claim for Remote Work Injuries

Ready to find out what Weir & Kestner can do for you? Complete the online contact form or call us at 615-220-4180 for a free initial case review.

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