Workplace Stress-Related Injury in Philadelphia
Mental Stress Claims
Stress affects almost everyone at one time or another. Family obligations, physical health issues, financial burdens, and hectic schedules, and deadlines can make anyone feel overwhelmed. Stress at work can be expected at almost all levels of performance, but when the stress level becomes unbearable or is intentionally or maliciously inflicted on a worker, it can render the individual unable to effectively perform their job duties.
workers’ compensation benefits help workers physically injured on the job collect compensation to cover their medical bills, prescription medications, therapies, and lost wages. workers’ compensation benefits are much harder to claim when the injury is the result of mental stress. The burden of proof that the injury is directly related to the employee’s work responsibilities is subjective at best and can lead to a denial of benefits.
The Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP, are committed to helping injured workers claim the necessary Workers’ Compensation benefits to which they are entitled. Even when benefits are initially denied, our team will work diligently to claim justice for you. We have the experience and knowledge necessary for your claim to be successful.
Several types of mental disabilities can arise from the workplace. They are categorized into three different classes being:
- Physical: Mental disability is when an injured worker develops an anxiety disorder, depression, or other mental conditions after suffering a physical injury in the workplace. For example, sustaining a back injury can lead to major depressive disorder, quickly spiral out of control.
- Mental: Physical disability claim: this is the opposite of our first type since a mental stimulus leads to a physical injury. A stark example can be when an active shooter or a person is held at gunpoint, which leads to a heart attack from the stress of the situation.
- Mental: Mental disability claim: a mental stimulus causes a mental illness. This is often in cases where something traumatic happened in the workplace, and now the employee cannot return to work due to posttraumatic stress disorder.
These are very complex claims, and you should ensure you have the help of a Philadelphia stress-related claim attorney.
Physical vs. Emotional Injury
A physical work injury is usually easy to prove. Workers that suffer cuts and lacerations, burns, broken bones, head injuries, or other harm can easily document the time and place the injury occurred, which can be used to prove that the injury was a direct result of the employee’s job. A mental injury that results from unreasonable or malicious stress at work can be much more difficult to document.
The private and family life of an individual can be stressful outside of the work environment, but this should not be considered when deciding a workers’ compensation claim. Marital stress, financial burdens, childcare responsibilities, and caring for elderly parents can make life difficult, to say the least, but the stress level at work should be factored in separately. All employees that perform the same job duties should have a reasonable amount of stress expected from the position. Stressors that relate to a worker’s personal life can be expected to balance with a reasonable level of stress at work.
Stress that becomes overwhelming at work can often be rectified with a shift in responsibility or modifications to a work schedule. When accommodations for unreasonable work-related stress are not made, emotional and psychological injury can result. Stress that is maliciously inflicted by employers, supervisors, or coworkers is never acceptable. Workplace discrimination, harassment, and failure to act on reports of unreasonable stress are examples of violations of a worker’s right to a safe and healthy work environment.
Examples of Mental Injuries
Our Philadelphia stress-related claim attorney has seen a few main types of mental injuries over the years. The first is post-traumatic stress disorder. This is when a person has been exposed to a traumatic event and then develops this disorder. Situations in the workplace that can cause this kind of mental injury may include bullying and harassment or a hazardous condition at work that causes extreme stress.
Mood disorders are another type of mental injury you may sustain in the workplace. Most commonly, you may become extremely depressed due to the workplace conditions you have had to endure. It has also been found that depression is a long-term risk of shiftwork. Here are other anxiety disorders you may suffer from, like phobias, panic attacks, and PTSD. They may seem like irrational fears, but this can cause a spiral of mental illness and injury for those who suffer from mental injury. Contact a Philadelphia stress-related claim attorney at Kenny & Gross, LLP, for help today.
Proving Emotional and Psychological Stress Injuries
Employees who claim that their work environment caused an emotional or psychological stress injury must prove several things to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. First, he or she must prove that the employer or work environment is primarily responsible for the injury. This can be tough to do since stress outside of the workplace can weaken a person’s tolerance for additional stress. Next, the claimant must show evidence that the level of stress at work was unreasonable for the job description, or that the level of stress was so severe that the worker was unable to perform their job duties.
The claimant must also show that emotional or psychological injury was diagnosed by a professional medical doctor, psychiatrist, or counselor. The condition must be so severe that it renders the worker disabled, even temporarily, and requires medical intervention such as counseling, therapy, or prescription medication. Medical documentation is vital in proving that the disability not only exists but that it was directly related to the work environment.
Employers and insurance companies can make it very difficult for the injured worker to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Many times, insurance providers will closely scrutinize the worker’s social and family life, history of drug or alcohol abuse, past mental illnesses, or personnel records to invalidate the worker’s claims. Employers can also challenge the claim for emotional stress if the worker has had recent disciplinary actions against them, a poor performance appraisal, or was denied a promotion.
Damages For a Stress Related Workers’ Compensation Claim
When you have been injured in the workplace, whether physically or mentally, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Some of these include:
- Hospital bills
- Temporary disability payments
- Medical aid devices
- Permanent disability payments
- Medical evaluations
- Lost wages
- Death benefits
- Prescription drugs
There may be other damages that you are entitled to, depending on the facts of your case. You must keep in mind that stress related workers’ compensation claims are often complicated to win without the experience of a dedicated Philadelphia stress related claim attorney. These cases are often heavily scrutinized since psychological injuries can be complex. The insurance companies will work hard to analyze every aspect of your life before and after the injury occurs, the insurance company will ask about some of the following:
- Mental health history
- Litigation history
- Financial situation
They ask these questions to try and find something they can use to deny your claim. Let Kenny & Gross, LLP, represent you in a Philadelphia workers’ compensation claim.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of Gross & Kenny, LLP Assist Those with Work-Related Mental Stress Injuries
The experienced team of Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers of Gross & Kenny, LLP, have helped countless victims of workplace stress claim the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. We have a long history of successful claims and appeals for workers, even when their claims have been denied initially. Compensation for lost wages, medical treatments, prescription medication, and therapy can help you focus on your recovery without the additional stress that financial burdens can bring. Call us at 215-512-1500, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. We represent clients throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding area.