There is a common misconception that only workers who are hurt as a result of onsite accidents are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In truth, eligible workers who sustain physical occupational harm of any kind tend to be entitled to benefits, regardless of what caused their harm and where they were when their harm occurred.
This general rule holds true for repetitive trauma, the development of occupational illness, aggravation of preexisting conditions and any physical trauma that occurs while a worker is traveling, executing job duties offsite or is otherwise working remotely.
Remote cases can be harder to prove
Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system is not fault-based. As a result, insurance claims adjusters are not often concerned with “what” caused work-related harm, only that the harm in question is work-related. As a result of this preoccupation with the work-related nature of such harm, claims adjusters are likely to scrutinize whether any non-employment influences could have contributed to a worker’s harm.
This is the reason why cases involving harm that was sustained remotely tend to be more difficult to prove. It is relatively easy to prove that an onsite accident witnessed by co-workers is work-related. Proving that a back injury sustained while someone was working remotely was not caused by a non-occupational influence is more difficult.
As a result, many workers who need to apply for benefits as a result of remote injuries often find that they benefit from seeking legal guidance early in the claims process. Additionally, understanding that their claim may be harder to verify has the potential to inspire workers to avoid common missteps that may lead to the devaluation or rejection of their claim.