Workplace injuries can happen in any industry, even to employees who work from home. Although most workplace injuries and deaths occur in industries like construction, remote workers can develop painful, serious injuries from working on the computer.
Remote employees are legally treated as in-house employees
When remote workers are injured on the job, they’re entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim just like anyone else. However, remote workers might have a harder time proving their injuries. Like all employees, remote workers have a better chance at getting compensated by hiring a workers’ comp attorney.
Here are some of the most common injuries sustained by remote workers that deserve to be compensated:
- Back and neck pain. Many things can cause back pain, including a bad chair, a desk set to the wrong height, and a computer monitor that is too high or too low.
- Carpal tunnel. This is a common problem not limited to remote workers, although typing all day long does increase the risk.
- Tendonitis. Tendonitis is painful. Mild injuries are resolved in 2-3 weeks, but it requires taking a break from using the injured tendon.
- Bursitis. Bursitis is an inflamed bursa. Bursas are fluid-filled sacs that serve as a cushion between bodily tissues in key areas of the body. Bursitis is most common in remote workers in the shoulder and elbow.
Cumulative injuries are easily prevented with ergonomic office furniture. However, the right ergonomic furniture will vary between people based on their height, weight, and other physical differences.
Slips, trips, and falls
- Slipping on spilled liquid. Any risk that exists in the home remains a risk to remote workers while they’re on the job. One of the most common causes for slips and falls is liquid. For example, it might be liquid soap, water, or spilled cooking oil.
- Tripping over cords or rugs. Messy, tangled cords strewn across carpet would never fly in an office. However, this is how most people have their electronics cords at home. In an office, rugs are wall-to-wall carpeting, but at home, area rugs pose a trip hazard.
- Falling while multi-tasking and not paying attention. Some falls occur when the person isn’t paying attention to what they’re doing. They might trip over a dog toy, one of their kid’s toys, or they might fall for another reason.
- Falling down stairs. Every year, about 12,000 people die after falling down stairs. Although it’s mostly older people and children who fall down the stairs, it can happen to anyone.
Remote workers need an attorney to win maximum compensation
Proving an injury was a direct result of work duties is a challenge many remote employees face when pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. While employers can maintain the safety conditions in an office, they can’t control the conditions in a remote employee’s home. Therefore, when a remote employee gets injured, their injury gets scrutinized.
It’s absolutely critical for injured remote workers to hire a workers’ comp attorney to ensure they get the compensation they deserve. It’s too risky trying to pursue a claim without a skilled lawyer.
Since some injuries aren’t the result of work, not all injuries get compensated. For example, a remote worker named Tammitha Valcourt-Williams tripped over her dog while reaching for her coffee. She sustained injuries to her knee, shoulder, and hip.
At first, her employer denied her workers’ comp claim, but the judge approved her claim. Her employer appealed, but the court found that her work didn’t cause her injury, but rather, it was her non-employment life (her dog, being in her kitchen, grabbing a cup of coffee) that caused her accident.
Have you been injured while working from home? Don’t hesitate to file a claim
Every injury deserves to be compensated. Your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation for a reason. It’s an insurance policy that pays compensation to injured workers regardless of fault. Workers’ comp was created to prevent businesses from getting sued for each injury. In many cases, it also serves the employee better than filing a lawsuit.
If you’ve been injured while working from home, whether it’s a serious physical injury or a cumulative injury like carpal tunnel or back pain, don’t hesitate to file a claim. If you were sitting in an office every day, you’d still be accumulating the same pain over time, and eventually, you’d end up injured all the same.