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 Worker’s 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.
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 separately. All employees that perform the same job duties should have a reasonable amount of stress expected with the position. Stressors that relate to a worker’s personal life can be expected to balance with the reasonable level at 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.
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 the 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 were denied a promotion.
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 267-589-0090, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. We represent clients throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding area.