Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Stressful Work Conditions?

Do you feel stressed out at work? Is it a frequent occurrence? Although most people are likely to agree that a specific amount of workplace stress or work-related stress is normal and may even be a positive motivator, unending and excessive stress at work can hurt your professional performance, especially in the long run. And that is not all; it can affect your personal life too.

Everyone has a few stressful days at work; however, in many cases, workplace stress can aggravate over time, impacting the mental and physical health of employees in California. If left unchecked, workplace stress is likely to impact your health both emotionally and physically, leaving you feeling helpless, agitated, and even out of control at times.

It is worth noting that under specific circumstances, California workers’ comp law allows you to claim workers’ comp disability benefits for job-related psychological stress. Both employers and insurers, however, will aggressively fight these compensation claims, and usually, the standard of proof in these cases is very high. This is reason to hire a good attorney.

What Is Work-Related Stress?

 It is no secret that stress-related injuries have slowly become a growing issue in California and all throughout the US. Workplace stress not only negatively affects health and well-being, but it can also adversely affect your productivity and efficiency at work, reducing your earning capacity in the process. Note that in the workplace, a variety of events can trigger stress.

For example, this can include events, such as a supervisor reprimanding a worker, an incident of workplace violence, or even an employee having to deal with a disgruntled customer. When you face stress at work, it often triggers a chemical reaction in your body, which allows you to act in a specific manner to prevent injuring yourself. People experience an increased heart rate, tightening of the muscles, rapid respiration, and an increase in blood pressure during this reaction.

Illnesses Triggered by Workplace Stress

Stress can cause physical ailments, along with various psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and depression. Note that if you do not seek treatment for your various psychological symptoms, and you remain exposed to high-stress levels in your workplace, you also risk experiencing one or more of the following health issues:

  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches

Given how severe these conditions can get, it is vital that you have all the financial resources in order to treat the effects of work-related stress before these physical illnesses arise. Workers’ compensation in California can provide you with these resources. So, it makes sense to get in touch with a West Coast workers’ compensation attorney.

Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation In California For Workplace Stress?

All of us have felt stressed at work at one point or another. Regardless of what job you have, you will likely experience varying levels of workplace stress, and each individual handles stress differently. As stress is often a natural reaction that we all experience, we usually accept workplace stress as a normal part of life. This stress can, however, sometimes lead to severe mental distress, and that may cause emotional breakdowns and many physical ailments. So, can you get workers’ comp benefits for stress in California, just as you would for other physical injuries?

Well, there is not a simple answer. This is because California does not have a law that explicitly covers stress relief; however, the good news is that workers’ compensation laws allow workers to file a claim for psychiatric injuries that arise from workplace stress. Note that if your workplace stress is so severe that it is affecting your ability to perform at work, it is time to take action. You may have a workers’ comp claim in California if you think the stressful conditions at work cause your stress. Get in touch with a West Coast Workers’ Compensation Attorney to know if you are eligible for benefits.

Claims Based on Psychiatric Conditions: What are the Requirements?

According to California law, the base requirements to successfully file a claim of psychiatric work-related injury are as follows:

  • You need to have a diagnosed psychiatric or medical condition that has caused a disability or need for medical treatment. Note that stress in and of itself is not a condition.
  • You should have been working for your employer for a minimum of 6 months.
  • You must establish that it is likely that work-related events were the main cause of your diagnosed medical condition. 
  • Your workplace injury should not be caused by a nondiscriminatory personnel action taken in good faith.
  • If you bring a claim after termination, then additional evidence is needed to prove that the injury occurred before termination.

Keep in mind that bringing a workers’ compensation claim based on your work-caused stress injury can depend heavily on the evidence from and opinion of your doctor. In most cases, this will likely require substantial documentation regarding your personal, medical, familial, and work histories, along with some evidence of your psychiatric background.

Always Inform Your Employer on Time

If you feel you are experiencing stress at work, the first and most important step you must take is to tell your manager or supervisor about it in great detail.Like most employers, your employer may have policies and procedures on how you have to report a potential workers’ comp claim. You have to follow all those rules and then file a formal report. Note that this report will be a part of your employment records and will also help ensure that all your rights are protected.

Consult With a California Workers’ Compensation Attorney

One of the most crucial steps you should take if you are experiencing the negative effects of work-related stress or emotional and mental distress is to consult with an experienced workers’ comp attorney in California.

Another important thing you should do is maintain a journal of all the stressful events which happen at work so that you can claim with a reasonable degree of certainty what happened and the time it happened. This will also help your compensation attorney.

Proving that stress-related illnesses or PTSD can keep you from working well can be challenging in most cases, but it is possible with the help of an experienced and competent workers’ compensation attorney in California.

The good news is that the physical and emotional effects of severe stress and debilitating anxiety are better understood today, including the way these conditions can affect your ability to work.

While claims based on stress and emotional distress can be quite challenging in California, working with a competent legal team specializing in workers’ compensation issues in California will give you the best opportunity to prove your case and receive the benefits you deserve.