There has come a time in everyone’s career where they have been stressed at work. Maybe it’s an approaching deadline for a project that is due, maybe you just work in a stressful job environment like a firefighter or police officer, or maybe who have a boss that just pushes you to the limits daily. So does this stress that is caused by your job qualify you for workers compensation? The answer may not be as simple as a yes or no answer. Proving a stress related workers comp case may be more trouble or stress than it is worth.
Stress can cause and has been linked to almost every major health issues including; heart issues, anxiety, mental disorders, intestinal problems, the list goes on. Unlike when you are injured at work such as you break a bone, receive a concussion, or cut something open, stress can be hard to prove and more hard to prove that your place of employment is responsible for your undue stress.
Every person handles and reacts to stress in different ways. In some cases stress can lead to mental disorders or physical issues. If some issues become permanent, which may be compensable under workers compensation.
In every state for a workers comp judgment to even be considered two things need to be proven; that the injured worker was an employee of the company and two that the injury occurred as a result of work. Most workers comp cases do not involve permanency awards. Most case are temporary disability awards, this means the worker was injured can’t work, get treatment and rehab and can eventually return to work when healed. It would have to be a catastrophic case to invoke a permanency award and the grounds to prove that on a stress disorder are very difficult however if it can be proven it can be considered a compensabe case.
In cases like this the burden of proof in entirely on the worker, there is no physical injury to show. This to me is rather tricky, I would not want to be the lawyer presenting this case. Everyone has stress; whether its from work, home, family, etc everyone has it and everyone deals with it differently. I would be interested to see how many of these cases get presented in the course of a year and how many actually get paid.
Source: American Bar Association