Can You Make A Worker’s Compensation Claim For Stress-Related Injuries

Working can impact the body and mind in a variety of ways. Work-related stress injuries are covered under Worker’s Compensation. The easiest to identify are physical manifestations of work-related stress. It’s much harder to provide evidence of the mental and emotional toll work-related stress can have on a person but it can be done. Both cases will require diligence in documenting the causes of the injuries and a knowledgeable understanding of your rights. Working in conjunction with a personal injury lawyer will ensure you receive all of the benefits entitled to you.

Physical-Stress Related Injuries

Physical stress related injuries would be things like a data entry clerk developing carpal tunnel due to typing or a maintenance worker developing chronic back pain due to consistently lifting heavy objects for work. In instances like these, a lawsuit cannot be filed but the worker’s comp system does provide some assistance for employees as they seek medical treatment for their injuries. Most worker’s comp programs will compensate lost wages while the employee recovers as well as covering medical treatment and rehabilitation. Some worker’s comp claims can be time sensitive. You will want to file a worker’s comp claim with your human resources department as soon as possible.

Proving Your Claim

Once you have filed a claim, it will need to be determined whether your injury was due to a pre-existing condition or if it was indeed a job stress related injury. The claim process may require that you be examined by an independent physician of the worker’s comp insurer’s choosing to verify that your injury is work-related. If you are asked to have this examination, consult a personal injury lawyer with experience involving worker’s comp claims. Having a lawyer involved will help ensure that that examination is done objectively and is truly independent.

Mental and Emotional Stress Related Injuries

Unfortunately, citing stress as the sole injury in a worker’s comp claim is not valid. The stress would have to have manifested itself as an identifiable physical illness. For example, if your boss is constantly berating you and you suffer a heart attack, you can be eligible for benefits under worker’s comp. Even then, it would have to be proven that work-related stress was the sole cause of the physical injury. The conditions of the employee’s work environment would have to be extraordinarily harder on them than other employees in the same position. Coworkers would be interviewed by investigators to determine if this is the case. You can strengthen your case by keeping a journal with exact dates and as many details of stressful experiences your job has caused. Enlist your coworkers to help keep track of incidents that they have personally witnessed you go through just in case you need witness statements.

Why You Need An Attorney

In some cases where worker’s comp isn’t a viable way to seek restitution, you may have a case with a personal injury lawsuit. In cases like these, make sure you have documented your work environment and stressful situations with your human resources department. The journal and the witnesses discussed earlier will also be crucial to building a strong case and improving the chances of success in the lawsuit. Documentation will be your best resource.

Whether your stress related work injury is physical, mental, or emotional, it is always a good idea to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side to guide you through the process of seeking fair compensation. Michael Babboni is an expert injury attorney with over 27 years of experience in negotiating fair settlements for his clients. Contact his today for a free case review..