Virtual Reality and Workers’ Compensation

Virtual Reality and Workers' Compensation Virtual reality is a relatively new phenomenon that has taken the world by storm. Its applications extend to gaming, as well as the world of work. When suited with a virtual reality headset, it may keep us on our toes, however. Our inability to see or use our senses can have real ramifications for our health.

Something Different

Virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Quest and HTC Vive have transformed people’s experiences. Transporting them to alternate realities can have positive developments in terms of perception, as well as negative aspects. Living and working in an environment entirely different from where their body is situated can increase productivity and create better outcomes for teams and organizations. On the flip side, since our vision is blocked, injuries are also more likely. Without the ability to be aware of our surroundings, we end up tunneling virtual reality, so immersed in the second reality that we can forget about the first.

A clean environment without obstacles is key towards safely using virtual reality, but even so, our minds can become distracted. We can forget our surroundings or our need to be cautious, precipitating an injury. One slip and fall, one sprain and strain can lead you towards a downward spiral. In such a case, you may want to pursue a personal injury claim against the manufacturer. You may also want to consider filing a workers’ compensation claim against your employer if you were on the job, who may have created the conditions that led to your injury. In which case, the attorneys at the Workplace Lawyers can help you. Our experienced attorneys are keen of injuries precipitated by a lack of environmental awareness and are familiar with the process of getting you workers’ compensation benefits.

Virtual Reality Injuries

Slip and falls are a common injury that can have immediate, devastating effects. Another injury made more possible through VR is walking into a wall. Some of the injuries onset by these accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations, gashes, and cuts
  • Concussions
  • Muscle strains/tears

Even though there are more traumatic injuries like slip and falls, there are also other injuries that we often become oblivious to. Our development of these injuries is a part of our detachment of the circumstances of our work, in addition to the effects they may have on us. They include:

  • Eyestrain
  • Disorientation
  • Neck/cervical spine strain
  • Cumulative trauma injury

Repetitive stress injuries don’t have to be brought on for prolific VR headset users, but even those people who use it in moderation.

There is also the possibility of electrical shock when using VR, so it is important that you maintain standards that would minimize that.


It is important that, as a user of virtual reality, you take precautions that will keep you safe from injury, such as:

  • Taking frequent breaks, especially as a new user of VR. Use of the headset can cause loss of balance, so it is important to reorient yourself to the real world.
  • Remembering that objects in virtual reality do not exist in the real world. Otherwise, a person could try to sit or stand on objects that aren’t there.
  • Clearing an area for use that is free of obstructions.
  • Do not handle any sharp objects while using VR.

Although virtual reality can be a fun and immersive experience, the buck stops with you. Your employer may be touting virtual reality as an innovative way of working. Although they can be responsible for an injury that arises during work, sometimes they aren’t. And when they are, although you may be compensated, depending on the injury, it may not bring that solace you are looking for. Your injury has left you unable to partake in activities that you normally would have participated in, and some things are never replaceable.

Future of Virtual Reality

Yes, virtual reality can be fun, and in fact, most people use it for just that reason. “A major portion of users are gamers, but VR’s practical applications extend to health care, the military, education, and training. In coal mining, for example, trainees use VR to practice new skills that would be dangerous to learn on-site.”[1] As such, employers are finding that VR is useful for training employees in otherwise hazardous situations where they can potentially be liable. Other applications include sales and marketing presentations, video interviews, and connecting support staff to consumers.

Is it the future? Absolutely. Is it practical for everyone? Absolutely not. There is still a real world to be proud of and to live and work in. Although this will gain popularity with its application extended across further mediums, it is limited in the fact that as with any new technology, there will be people who outright reject it. In addition, technology, including virtual reality, can be hacked, where sensitive information can be stolen or sessions unduly interrupted.

Limits of Virtual Reality

The limits of virtual reality, however, is most clear, when we consider that virtual reality is just that. Although it can be based on reality, in the end, it is not reality. The positives, however, are just as distinct. Just as with any alluring experience, such as gaming, exercise, or watching a film, it is just that, an experience. One that has transcended previous forms of experiences and has brought with it its own immersion. The fact that people continuously have dialogue about its practicality and whether to apply it in their own organizations is reason enough to consider how successful it is.

Employers in this country undoubtedly have extensive influence, with the health of workers left up to their judgment and discretion. As such, although employers can decide how you spend your day, they cannot always provide for the common sense that comes with being a human being. It is up to you that you maintain safe practices to avoid injury.

Injured On the Job While Using Virtual Reality? Contact Us Today.

If you are injured on the job while using virtual reality, you should consider counsel in a workers’ compensation lawyer. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance, so you don’t need to prove your employer was at fault. Workers’ compensation benefits can help you with medical expenses, lost wages, and ongoing care costs such as treatment and rehabilitation. For more information, and to speak with an experienced attorney, contact us today.

[1] Rosbach, M. (2020, January 8). Virtual Reality, Real Injuries: How to Reduce Physical Risk in VR. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from is the website for the workers compensation attorneys firm of Livingston, DiMarzio LLP Our team of attorneys is made up of New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyers, NJ Workers Comp Lawyers, Employment Lawyers and Certified New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Attorneys.