For many people, work can be stressful. However, if the stress caused by your job has reached the point that it is hindering your ability to work, there is a possibility that you could receive workers' compensation benefits. Before filing a claim for benefits, here are two points to consider.
Is the Stress Above the Normal Levels?
An important component of a stress-related workers' comp claim is proving that the stress caused by the position is above the normal that is expected. Stress is considered to be a natural response to workplace situations. However, when the stress results in mental distress or an inability to function, it is considered to be an impairment.
Proving the stress in your workplace is above normal levels can sometimes be challenging. Since there is no definite test that can be used to gauge exactly what is considered normal, you will need to rely on incidents within the workplace to help prove your case.
For instance, if a supervisor intentionally singled you out constantly to embarrass and berate, you could argue that a stressful situation was created.
It is important to note that if a co-worker or supervisor is responsible for making your work life stressful you need to file a complaint with the human resources department. Failing to do so could be seen as a sign that the situation was not as stressful as you claim because you did not seek to remedy it. You can use the complaints that you file to help with your workers' comp claim.
Is the Stress Work-Related?
Work is often not the only source of stress for many people. Situations outside of the home, such as family, can also be stressful. It is possible that your employer's insurance company will argue that the source of your stress is not work-related, but is the result of conditions outside of the workplace.
It is because of this, you need to be able to show that the conditions at work were solely to fault for your condition. It is important to file complaints at work, in writing, to help create a paper trail that points back to your employment as the source of stress.
You also need witnesses. If a stressful situation occurs, talk with co-workers that you trust. They can provide testimony later that you were stressed at work and also be able to cite specific situations that caused you to experience stress.
Consult with an experienced workers comp attorney before filing your claim to find other ways to bolster your workers' comp claim.