Can You Get Workers Comp if You Have a Desk Job?
When people think about on-the-job injuries, occupational illnesses, and workers compensation claims, they often think of jobs that are known for being inherently risky and dangerous. They might imagine accidents like a construction worker falling off of a roof, a factory employee getting their hand caught in a machine, or experiencing hearing loss over time after consistently being exposed to high noise levels at work. But, ultimately, work-related injuries and illnesses can potentially happen to anyone, even if they have jobs that seem pretty safe and low-risk, like working in an office.
Common Workplace Accidents for Office Workers
Slip, Trip & Fall
Falls are consistently among the top types of workplace accidents and offices are commonly full of slip and trip hazards. Very often, you’ll find power cords stretched out across areas where people walk. If someone’s desk chair isn’t stable, it could tip over while reaching for something. There’s also the risk of slipping on a recently-mopped floor or tripping on a piece of loose carpeting. Or, sometimes people can’t find a stepstool when they need one and try to stand on an office chair when they need to reach something.
The simple fact of the matter is that when people fall, not everyone is able to get right back up again. According to the National Safety Council, in 2020, 211,640 workers were injured by falls badly enough to require time off from work. In some cases, injuries caused by a fall can even be fatal.
Not all types of work-related injuries are immediately obvious. Sometimes, conditions develop over time and ergonomic injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive movement injuries, are a good example of this. Ergonomic injuries are a major safety issue for people who spend significant amounts of time working at a desk. Providing employees with ergonomic desk chairs and workstations can go a long way in helping prevent these debilitating injuries from developing over time.
Working in an office can occasionally involve doing some lifting. For example, an office manager might need to lift cases of bottled water to put them in a storage room or to put the bottles in the office fridge. There may also be computer equipment, heavy boxes of files, and other boxes of office supplies that need to be moved around. Because of this, it’s important for employees to have some training on how to lift things properly to avoid muscle strain and other injuries.
Can You Get Workers Compensation if You Have a Desk Job?
If you were injured while at work, the good news is that you will likely be able to make a claim for workers compensation benefits regardless of what type of work you do. However, there are a few exceptions where you wouldn’t be eligible for workers comp benefits based on your field of work, such as if you work in agriculture or are a domestic worker, like a housekeeper or nanny. There are also a few other factors which can prohibit someone from collecting workers compensation, such as if they are an independent contractor or federal employee. A lawyer will be able to help you understand if you are covered or not.
Proving a Work-Related Injury
When you’re injured at work, it’s best to contact a workplace injury lawyer as soon as possible. Not only will speaking to a lawyer give you a chance to get questions about how the law applies to your situation and help make sure your workers compensation claim will be handled correctly from the very beginning, they’ll be able to help you understand the ways you can prove your case.
The types of evidence that could help your case may vary depending on the type of injury you’ve sustained. For example, footage from a security camera could show a fall as it occurred. And how do you prove something like carpal tunnel syndrome, which takes time to develop? Medical records are always important to have in a workers comp case, but if you’ve been seeing a doctor about carpal tunnel over the years, that would be very helpful. Or let’s say you’ve talked to your employer about ergonomic problems at your desk in the past, but your concerns were never addressed. Were there any witnesses who could verify that you had tried to bring the problem to your employer’s attention?
Contact a Michigan Workplace Injury Lawyer
At Scott Goodwin Law, you’ll be able to talk to a lawyer experienced in helping the victims of workplace accidents in the state of Michigan and working with them on their workers compensation claims. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can help you.
Image: Alleksana / Pexels