Workplace Injuries Caused by Computers
Workplace Computer Issues are difficult to value. Additionally, it’s tough to determine how much of the injury was actually related to work. Our calculator isn’t great at valuing computer related issues. That said, it may still be able to give you a rough estimate.
In addition, if you fill out the calculator for computer related work injuries as best you can, just ask to have a workers comp lawyer for computer injuries contact you. This way, you will be able to get a no obligation estimate of the value of your claim directly from an attorney with experience.
Carpal Tunnel v. Computer Eye Issues
With the exponential increase in computer usage over the last decade, there has been a corresponding increase in computer usage injuries at work. While Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most recognized forms of computer usage injury, there are a few others that mainly went unnoticed by the public. The most common computer related injuries are eye problems resulting from prolonged usage of the video screens. Many studies have been conducted since computer usage began to increase in the work place. The findings suggest that the type of computer work, whether it is data entry or other generalized use, is unimportant. Only the duration of time is the key factor in occurrence of eye problems. Computer related eye issues are reported in as many as 15% of routine eye exams.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Extended exposure to monitors or other video display terminals tend to increase the likelihood that a user will experience a decrease in spontaneous eye blink rate (SEBR) from ignoring the peripheral cues (ex. dry eyes) that normally cause eyes blinking. Research shows that healthy patients SEBR reduce as much as 42% of normal during computer usage. This decrease, coupled with an increase in the surface area of the eye exposed due to eye widening associated with higher concentration tasks will cause the tear film to dry rapidly. These symptoms can also be aggravated by prior Lasik surgery. A worker with prior Lasik procedures needs to take extra caution to avoid this problem. The increase in dry eye is correlated with a higher incidence of Asthenopia (severe eye strain), Dipolopia (double vision), and visual fatigue. The prevalence of the eye injuries have increased enough that some eye care professionals have assigned the name Computer Vision Syndrome to the occurrence.
The forms of eye injury from computer usage are increase in prevalence, but are most often temporary. While there is a small possibility for the eye injury to manifest in greater duration, no workman’s compensation cases can be found that cite computer related eye injury as a cause of action. However, volumes of case law exist that cites Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as a computer usage related injury that qualifies an employee for workmen’s compensation benefits. A smaller number of cases exist that have Aesthenopia or Dipolopia as one of the main symptoms of other work related injuries as a basis for workman’s compensation benefits. Since the definition of disability for workmen’s compensation is so broad (A person is considered disabled when he/she has lost the ability to earn wages because of an injury. Workers’ compensation does not pay weekly benefits for the injury itself or for pain; it pays for the loss of the ability to earn wages caused by the injury, i.e., the loss of earning capacity. There are two categories of disability under the law- 1) total disability and 2) partial disability), it is possible that a plaintiff could receive compensation for loss of income resulting from computer a related eye injury. The only reason that this has not been litigated yet is that the temporary duration of the injury has not yet met the threshold of economic feasibility to justify the costs of litigation. With the continuing increase in workplace dependence on VDTs, it is only a matter of time before this threshold is met.
This work was generated from the following research:
Cases that cite Asthenopia as part of disability to work:
Gossett v Chate, 947 F.Supp. 1272 (1996)
Woodard v. U.S., 167 Ct.Cl.306 (1964)
Candiano v. Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc., 251 F.Supp. 654 (1966)