According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress is an evolutionary mechanism designed to cope with many of life’s demands and stressors, including work. But what to do when your work stress starts affecting your life. You get help. Simple, right? No, it is not.
It might be easy for an employee to get their rightful compensation after sustaining a work-related illness or injury in some perfect parallel world. But not in our world. If given a chance, employers and insurance companies are more than ready to take them to get out of paying compensation. And, stress claims usually prove better to find loopholes than, say, spinal cord injuries. Workers Compensation laws have been modified to be more conscious of mental and stress-related claims to counter this.
However, people still have misconceptions. Given below are five common misconceptions related to Stress Claims explained:
1) Mental Health is no longer a ”Stigmatized Issue.”
Mental Health as a concept is gaining more attention and research; there are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding mental health. There are still many cases of abusive attitudes towards mental illness that fuel stigma and discrimination and make it difficult to seek help. And while society is becoming more open to understanding the importance of mental health as a component of an individual’s overall well being, we believe that the stigmatization of mental health and its impact on workers’ compensation claims still exists.
2) To claim Workers’ Compensation, your Injury should be Physical
As mentioned in our previous point, Mental Health is still stigmatized. And Neurotypicality is still considered a norm. A common misconception regarding workers’ compensation is that for ”behavioral health issues to affect a claim, either the injury must be catastrophic, such as a spinal cord or head injury, or the injured worker had a medical problem. Many injured workers mistakenly believe they cannot file a stress claim due to its abstract nature.
You can claim workers’ compensation if you get ill while doing ANY work. If an employer prevents a claim from being filed or subsequently retaliates against an affected employee, they may be subject to legal liability. In California, an injured worker can claim loss of earnings and medical bills due to a work injury. Also, even if the incident at work is considered minor, you still have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim.
3) Mental Health is a ”Personal Problem.”
Many assume stress to be a personal problem. A person who cannot handle their pressure well is often considered weak. Mental health is considered to be a problem rather than a medical condition. That claiming Mental Health is acting unprofessionally. However, no matter what society says, scientifically, Mental health is much more than an abstract concept or a personal
4) Only full-time employees are qualified for compensation
When an employee is stressed at work or work, workers’ compensation can be claimed and received if it results in a recognized mental disorder. Although it is not possible to claim compensation for an employee solely because of stress, constant stress can lead to certain illnesses and psychological disorders. In California, employees who experience anxiety due to their regular job duties can file a “stress claim” for compensation. And you need not be a full-time employee to be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Filing A Stress Claim
FMLA and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provide helpful treatment options for symptoms caused by workplace stress. While California does not have its stress leave laws, California labor laws may allow employees to file compensation claims for mental harm caused by workplace stress. Under California workers’ compensation law, if you are diagnosed with a mental disorder that causes the need for treatment or disability, you are eligible for work-related mental injury compensation.
If you think your mental health is suffering due to your job, following steps to file your claim:
Step 1. Your first step should be to report this to your employer. Be sure to obtain a diagnosis or an evaluation note from a Psych professional. Your employer will then give you all the necessary paperwork to file a Stress Claim.
Step 2. Your next step should be to consult an experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney.
If you or your loved ones are suffering from workplace stress and are looking for legal advice, we at Gaylord and Nantais have your back. At Gaylord & Nantais’ attorneys, we have more than 40 years of expertise in successfully representing people who have been hurt on the job. We have experience with claims in various sectors and will do our utmost best to protect your rights. To get a free evaluation, call Gaylord & Nantais Attorneys at (562) 561-2669 or (213) 732-3436