Can I File for Workers’ Compensation for Stress?
Stress is an unfortunate but common problem among Maryland workers. Long hours, overwork, intense pressure from management, and other factors can take a significant psychological and physical toll on employees. But can you file a workers’ compensation claim for stress? Keep reading to learn more from the Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers at Trollinger Law LLC.
Can I Receive Workers’ Comp for Stress and Anxiety?
The short answer is yes ― you can file a claim for mental health injuries at work. The longer answer is that while you can file a workers’ comp stress claim, obtaining benefits can be much more challenging than a claim for a physical injury.
To qualify for workers’ compensation after developing stress, you must have worked for your employer for at least six months, and you must show that your stress is work-related.
There are three broad categories of workers’ compensation claims related to mental health. They are:
- Physical-mental — You’d file this type of claim if you’ve developed a psychological injury after sustaining a physical injury or being diagnosed with an occupational illness. For example, if you lost a hand in a workplace accident and later developed depression due to the injury, you could have a valid physical/mental claim.
- Mental-physical — A mental-physical claim would be appropriate if you sustained an emotional injury that causes a physical injury or illness. This claim might apply if an employee witnessed a traumatic event at a worksite and suffered a heart attack.
- Mental/mental — These claims apply if you develop a mental health disorder after a psychological injury at work. For example, if you witnessed a coworker killed on the job and later developed PTSD, you could file a mental-mental workers’ comp claim.
Anxiety and Stress Claims for First Responders
First responders such as firefighters, police officers, paramedics, or EMTs are at particularly high risk for occupational stress injuries. Mental health issues such as cumulative stress, traumatic stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are concerns for emergency responders due to the high degree of trauma they witness and experience. According to one NIOSH-funded RAND report, “The traumatic nature of major disasters can have significant effects on individual responders and on response organizations as a whole.”
Common Questions About Stress and Workers’ Compensation
- Do you need to sustain a physical injury to receive benefits for stress? Not necessarily. In certain cases, you can still qualify for workers’ comp after developing stress without an accompanying physical injury. An experienced workers’ comp attorney in Maryland can give you a more precise answer specific to your case.
- What does workers’ compensation cover? If your claim is approved, workers’ compensation benefits cover all medical costs related to your injury and a portion of your missed wages. Payments do not cover property damage or pain and suffering.
- Are all employers required to carry workers’ comp? According to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission, most employers with one or more workers must have workers’ compensation insurance. A handful of workers are exempt from workers’ compensation, including federal government employees, some agricultural workers, some independent contractors, and some sole proprietorships.
How Do You Prove Work-Related Stress?
Proving that your stress is work-related can be difficult. However, there are a few things you can do to help your case, such as:
- Document specific incidents, people, or activities at your job that cause your stress.
- Speak to your manager or Human Resources department about the stress you’re suffering, and document the interaction.
- Seek treatment from a mental health professional and include information on your treatment as part of your claim.
- Get help from a workers’ compensation attorney.
What is Covered for Mental Health and Workers’ Compensation?
Similar to physical injuries, workers’ compensation could cover mental illness or other similar conditions caused by a singular event or conditions that arise over time. If it can be demonstrated that work-related factors caused the illness, you could potentially seek compensation for:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
For a successful workers’ comp stress claim, employees must show the illness was caused by work-related factors and not personal ones.
Our Workers’ Comp Lawyers Can Help You File for Benefits
All workers’ compensation claims in Maryland are tricky. But if you need to know how to file a claim for stress at work, it’s critical to speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Emotional injuries are real, but it’s not always easy to get an insurance company to agree.
At Trollinger Law LLC, our Waldorf workers’ compensation lawyers believe the last thing you need while you’re filing a stress claim is the added pressure of filling out all the paperwork. We can collect the necessary documentation and file it for you to minimize the chances of clerical errors that could jeopardize your claim.
Let’s get started now. Call or contact us for a free consultation.