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Can California Remote Workers Get Workers Comp?

by Levin & Nalbandyan, LLP
December 21, 2023
Workers' Compensation

Nearly All Employees Are Eligible for Workers' Compensation

The state of California requires almost all employers to be legally liable for injuries to employees that occur on the job, regardless of where those injuries took place. California law has always been on the side of employees who are injured while working off-site. Remote employees are no different.

If you have suffered a work-from-home injury that you feel should be covered by worker’s compensation, you should have the best legal representation to make the process smoother and get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation, or keep reading for more information about work-at-home injuries.

When Are Injures While Working From Home Covered by Worker’s Comp?

The California worker’s compensation law is found in Division 4 of the Labor Code. Section 3600 of that code states that injuries are covered if you are an employee, your employer is required to participate in workers’ comp, and the injury occurred in the normal course of employment. 

For an injury to be covered by worker’s comp, it must:

  • have occurred while the employee is performing service growing out of and incidental to their employment;
  • have occurred while the employee was acting in the course of their employment;
  • have been proximately caused by employment, with or without negligence;
  • have not been caused by intoxication;
  • have not been self-inflicted.

Independent contractors and some part-time employees may not qualify for worker’s compensation. However, the definition of employee is broader for worker’s comp than it is for general employment law. Note that slip and falls occurring in your home and caused by your own negligence will likely be deemed self-inflicted.

What Remote Work Activities Are Covered by Worker’s Comp?

Section 3356 states that any undertaking engaged in by the employer with some degree of regularity is an activity covered by worker’s compensation. In addition, section 3355 states that all services tending toward the preservation, maintenance, or operation of the business or business property of the employer are covered activities for worker’s comp.

Social activities, such as a company picnic, are not covered unless participation is mandated by the employer. Recreational activities, even if they occur in your work area, are not covered by worker’s compensation.

Common Work From Home Injuries Covered By Worker’s Comp

Section 3208 states that an injury can be specific, meaning that it results from a single incident, or cumulative, meaning that it is caused by repetitive exposure or mentally traumatic activities. 

Common work-from-home injuries include:

  • Traditional office injuries
  • Injuries caused by faulty equipment
  • Long-term injuries such as carpal tunnel
  • Psychiatric injuries due to stress of position

Psychiatric injuries are more complex but are common in jobs where you must take the abuse of callers or customers. It must be proven that the psychiatric injury was directly caused by the course of employment. 

Were You Injured While Working Remotely in California?

If you were injured while working remotely in California, your injuries could qualify for worker’s compensation. As long as you are an employee and not an independent contractor, you are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits for any injury that occurs while you are engaged in work activities.
Worker’s compensation may be denied if you are working from home, and you need an attorney who will stand by your side and provide experienced legal representation. We have years of experience in employment and worker’s compensation law. Contact us today at (213) 232-4848 to schedule a free consultation.

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