The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that neck injuries alone cause 11,600 workers each year to be away from work with almost a thousand of those leading to overnight stays at hospitals.
Neck injuries can either happen instantaneously or gradually over time. For example, many people who have injured their neck will initially report mild discomfort, such as pain, swelling, or difficulty moving. But, over time, this pain can exponentially increase—and quickly too. This is known as a repetitive stress claim. This occurs frequently when low pain or small injuries that start off small gradually turn into something much larger. In reality, you might not even notice how much of a toll you are putting on your neck over time. Dr. Michael Fredericson, professor of orthopaedic surgery at Stanford University says, “It’s kind of like when a tire blows out on you. It wasn’t necessarily one incident; the tread was wearing down over time.” Alternatively, neck injuries can also come about from sudden movements or impacts.
What are Some Examples of Neck Injuries?
- Pinched Nerves;
- Partial or full paralysis;
- Bulging Disks; and
- Referred pain, which means that the pain spreads from the neck to the back, legs, or shoulders
Who is Covered?
Some of the most-common jobs that people experience neck injuries at include construction, health services, manufacturing, and transportation. However, anyone who was injured while on-the-job may be entitled to lost wages and medical benefits.
What Does “On-the-Job” Mean?
Essentially, if you are within the scope of your work duties and the injury is work-related, even if it is your own fault, it is covered under workers’ compensation. Notably, this is not the case if the injury is intentional, the result of illegal activity, or such as commuting to and from your work location. But, as a basic rule of thumb, if the injury occurred on-the-job, then workers’ compensation is available.
What About Working From Home?
There is absolutely no difference between working from home and working at your usual job location in terms of being eligible for a workers’ compensation claim. The only key factor to determine if you can file a compensable claim is whether the injury occurred while you were on-the-job as explained above. In particular, people who are working from home can be just as vulnerable, especially now with people possibly sitting uncomfortably in a chair, kitchen stool, or couch. Regardless of where you are working from, Nikki Weiner, an ergonomics consultant, suggests that you sit in a neutral posture, with your “Hips slightly higher than the knees, arms relaxed at your side, neck relaxed and straight, forearms parallel to the ground, feet resting on the floor.” Be sure to keep actively moving around as well. Even with perfect ergonomics, your body simply is not meant to stay stagnant in the same position for such long periods of time.
Remember These Three Tips to Alleviate Discomfort and Possibly Avoid a Repetitive Stress Injury
- Ice or heat. Apply an ice pack or bag of frozen peas to your neck for 15 minutes three or more times a day. Taking a hot shower or bath can help relax strained muscles.
- Stretching. Stretch your neck muscles by turning your neck gently from side to side and up and down.
- Massage. Rubbing the sore places in your neck can help relieve muscle spasms.
- Good posture. Practice good posture, especially if you sit at a computer all day. Keep your back supported, and make sure that your computer monitor is at eye level.
How Can a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help Secure the Benefits You Deserve?
Unfortunately, when it comes to neck injuries, obtaining the benefits you deserve can be challenging. Because these are internal injuries that may not be visible to the naked eye, employers—and their workers' compensation insurers—may claim that you're exaggerating or that your injury isn't really work-related. You need an accomplished workers' compensation attorney to ensure that you and your claim are treated fairly. Here is just a shortlist of how an experienced attorney can assist you in obtaining the benefits you deserve:
- Work with your medical providers to make sure your injuries and treatments are thoroughly documented;
- Gather important evidence, including medical documentation;
- Handle communication between you and your employer's workers' compensation insurer;
- Take depositions from you, your doctors, and other involved parties;
- Draft vital legal documents, such as pleadings, motions, briefs, etc.;
- Litigate your case in court
Please Call Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys to Schedule a Free Virtual Consultation
At O'Connor Law PLLC, our workers' compensation lawyers in New York City have helped countless individuals obtain the benefits they need and deserve. If you work in New York and were injured on-the-job, please contact our office in Larchmont today to schedule an initial free consultation to discuss your claim with a member of our legal team without any obligation.