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If I Get Hurt at Home While Working, Can I File for a Work Comp Injury?

COVID-19 has changed the way Americans work. The abrupt closure of offices and workplaces has forced millions to work from home, thus creating new challenges for the workers’ compensation process.

Generally, yes: you do have a valid Missouri work comp claim, but there are exceptions. Your home is your new work premises. The critical issue is whether the cause of your work injury was linked to your work duties. For example, if you pick up a heavy box of work papers at home and your back pops, that is a valid case. If you are carrying work papers down steps and you fall, you have a valid work claim. If you are rushing to answer a work call and trip over something, that is a valid claim.

However, if you are walking to the bathroom and trip for no reason, that claim will be denied. The incident must somehow be tied to your work. If you were carrying a box and tripped, that is a valid claim. If you had work files all over the floor and trip on one, that is a valid claim.

Working from home can also cause a repetitive use injury such as carpal tunnel from typing, cutting, or gripping. Lifting heavy boxes every day can cause a repetitive use injury to your low back. A poorly set up workstation can lead to back and neck pain. A small computer screen can cause neck pain because you hunch forward and strain to see the screen.

UCS – Upper Crossed Syndrome

UCS occurs when the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and chest become deformed, usually due to poor posture. Look at people while they use a cell phone or computer. They hunch over the device with forwarding head tilt and shoulders rounded forward. This causes severe neck, trap, and head pain from very tight muscles.

The muscles that are typically the most affected are the upper trapezius and the levator scapula, which are the back muscles of the shoulders and neck. First, they become extremely strained and overactive. Then, the muscles in the front of the chest, called the major and minor pectoralis, become tight and shortened.

When these muscles are overactive, the surrounding counter muscles are underused and become weak. The overactive muscles and underactive muscles can then overlap, causing an X shape to develop.

Most cases of UCS arise because of continual poor posture. Specifically, standing or sitting for long periods with the head pushed forward. People often adopt this position when they are reading or using a laptop, computer, or smartphone.

Symptoms of UCS

People with UCS display stooped, rounded shoulders and a bent-forward neck. The deformed muscles put a strain on the surrounding joints, bones, muscles, and tendons. This causes most people to experience symptoms such as:

  • Neck pain
  • Headache
  • Weakness in the front of the neck
  • Strain in the back of the neck
  • Pain in the upper back and shoulders
  • Tightness and pain in the chest
  • Jaw pain
  • Fatigue
  • Lower back pain
  • Trouble with sitting to read or watch TV
  • Trouble driving for long periods
  • Restricted movement in the neck and shoulders
  • Pain and reduced movement in the ribs
  • Pain, numbness, and tingling in the upper arms

St. Louis Work Injury Lawyer

If you were injured at home while performing a work duty and have questions about your claim, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann. When we take your case, we make recovering benefits our priority for you. We put decades of experience, a proven record of success, and a client-focused approach behind your workers’ compensation case.

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