When most people think of injuries that qualify for Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits, they first think of injuries from construction accidents or vehicle crashes. While such cases certainly qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, injuries that take place in an office setting can also qualify. By definition, any injury sustained while “in the scope of employment” is potentially eligible for workers’ compensation.
There is a long list of office-worker injuries that could provide the basis for workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts, according to attorneys who often represent people injured in workplace accidents. Here are some of the common ones:
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
This injury occurs from continuous or long-term pressure on the median nerve in the wrist, which supplies feeling to the hand and fingers. Office workers who spend the majority of their day on a computer frequently develop carpel tunnel syndrome if their work station is not ergonomically set up.
These injuries are the result of overuse of a specific part of the body. For example, if you use your arm eight hours a day working a postage meter, you could eventually suffer a repetitive stress injury in your arm. Workers often think these aches and pains are just part of the job, or part of growing old, when in fact they are actually compensable work-related injuries.
An employer in an office setting has the same duty to provide a hazard-free workplace as an employer on a construction site. A worker who trips over a power cord, slips on a wet floor or falls down the stairs may have a legitimate workers’ compensation claim.
Office workers are frequently required to lift boxes or office supplies. A pulled muscle, back strain or neck injury that results from lifting something at work may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
It is important that Massachusetts officer workers understand that they are not expected to simply live with injuries that occur on the job. Aches and pains that do not go away may be a symptom of a much more serious condition or injury – one that could be the result of your job. Even if your injury does not consistently require you to miss work at the moment, you should still consult a physician as soon as possible. If left untreated, those aches and pains could worsen or lead to permanent damage.
Although the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system does provide wage replacement benefits, the primary purpose is to treat injured workers. This means that if you have a qualifying injury, your medical expenses related to the injury will be covered by the workers’ compensation system.