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A few years ago, I was in a pretty serious car accident. During the aftermath, I became really familiar with a lot of different types of lawyers. I worked with personal injury lawyers, insurance lawyers, and many others. Perhaps the most important, though, was the estate planning lawyer. I was really young, and neither my wife or I had thought about starting a will. But the accident kind of scared us into it. What would happen if one of us were to die? Even when still in the hospital, I was working with the lawyer to draw up a will. Now, I have some peace and security about what the future will be like if something should happen to me. And I have a lot of experience working with various types of lawyers! The accident was kind of a blessing in disguise in that way.

Is It Possible To Receive Workers' Compensation For Stress Related Or Mental Injuries?

Law Blog

Not all work related injuries are physical injuries. You can definitely suffer mental Injuries on the job, or because of the job. Mental injuries, such as stress, are harder to prove than physical injuries.  Your workers' compensation benefits may cover mental injury, but receiving those benefits can turn into a battle.

Stress Related and Mental Injuries

Most people know stress can fester and eventually lead to physical injury. But if you receive a physical injury such as a heart condition or digestive problem from stress, it's hard to convince anyone the cause of the injury was work related.

You also need to understand the difference between a workplace injury and an occupational disease.

Workplace injuries – This is an injury that stems from a definite occurrence. If you trip and fall, there's a verifiable reason for the injury.

Occupational diseases – These issues occur because of the conditions at the workplace. If you regularly work around chemicals, they may slowly poison you. Chemical poisoning is a form of occupational disease.

Stress can cause both physical injury as well as disease. The problem with these two things is that their meanings, and how they're handled, can vary from state to state. This is one of the hurdles of proving a mental injury is a cause for compensation. It's also a hurdle in proving a mental injury is the cause of another injury.

First, the Bad News

The bad news is that not all states even recognize mental traumas and injuries as legitimate workers' compensation injuries or occupational diseases. The best way to prove that something like mental stress occurred at work is to prove that you worked under abnormal conditions.

If the conditions at the workplace are within approved guidelines and others don't seem to suffer similar issues in the industry, then your battle gets much harder. There are two things that can help your case.

  • If your mental injury turns into a physical injury, it can improve your chances.
  • If a physical injury at work turns into a mental disorder, it can help you receive more compensation.

In almost all cases, it can turn into an uphill battle. That doesn't mean it's not a battle you can't win.

The Good News

As time has gone by, work-related mental disorders have gained a lot of ground as legitimate workplace injuries. That means there are prior successful cases and lawyers who have experience dealing with them.

The best thing you can do is hire a workers' compensation attorney who has some familiarity with work related mental injuries. Receiving the compensation you need and deserve is not an impossibility. The battle can become tough, but with a knowledgeable workers' compensation lawyer, you have a far better chance of winning it. Contact a firm such as Parker & Frey for more information.


31 March 2015