For many workers, stress at work is often accepted as a normal part of life. However, excessive stress that causes you mental harm could be merits for a workers' compensation claim. Unfortunately, stress claims are usually treated with a high degree of cynicism, leading to insurance companies routinely denying them.
If you have been genuinely affected by work-related stress and wish to file a stress compensation claim, follow the guidelines below to better your chances of recovering damages.
Seek medical help
Prior to filing a stress claim, you should first seek medical attention for your condition. The law typically requires that a worker be diagnosed with a clinical mental condition related to stress that either causes disability or requires medical treatment. Seeing a psychologist about your work-related stress and being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder is crucial to establishing your claim.
Signs that you may need medical help include suffering a mental breakdown after being overworked or being unable to concentrate at work. Seeking medical help early on can ensure that you get the proper treatment and boost your chances of getting compensation once you file a claim.
Prove your stress is work-related
Proving that your mental injuries were caused by the work environment is often the most difficult part in a stress claim. Essentially, you will be required to prove that the stress you suffered wasn't caused by any personal issues such as financial difficulties, marital problems, drug use or a history of mental illness. Insurers often scrutinize the life of the worker to look for any factors that may have contributed to their psychiatric injury.
To prove that your work is indeed the cause of the problem, you may need to document stressful incidents such as work-related violence, threats at work, racial abuse from superiors or sexual harassment. Note the dates of any such incidents and get a colleague who can corroborate your story in court. You can also take pictures of hostile conditions at work or record times when you had to work for excessive hours without a break.
Unfortunately, certain nondiscriminatory personnel actions by the employer such as criticizing you for bad work or denying you a pay raise do not often count as grounds for work-related stress.
Stress compensation claims are typically governed by complex workers' compensation laws, and you may often have to fight against skeptical insurance companies who will do anything in their power not to settle your claim. It is therefore important that you follow the guidelines above and hire a workers' compensation lawyer like those found at Locklin & Mordhorst to offer you legal advice and representation.