Stress is commonplace in today’s society. Most of us lead hectic lives in and out of the workplace. Many of us work full-time while raising families, and there often is not enough hours in the day.
It’s fair to say that you have been stressed out at work at least once. Looming deadlines, pushy customers, inflexible bosses and annoying co-workers have all caused many a person to dread coming in to work. Maybe you have even called in sick to temporarily avoid dealing with the stress.
Stress is different for each person, but when does it cross the line? New Jersey law allows stress as a valid reason to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. However, a viable claim requires that the work environment be a direct cause of the stress, and proving this can be, well, stressful.
When Can Stress Result in Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
There are two main situations in which workplace stress can result in workers’ compensation benefits:
- The stress produces physical symptoms
- The stress results in psychiatric symptoms.
To prove either of these, the state workers’ compensation board will look at three elements:
- Is there proof that the cause of the stress work-related?
- Was the stress above and beyond what a normal person should be forced to handle based on the position?
- Did the stress cause any sort of permanent impairment?
Filing a Claim
Unlike a broken bone, stress is a psychological issue. Nobody can see that you are stressed. Therefore, it requires a significant level of proof.
Under Title 34 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated, a person must prove that they were an employee and that their injuries were caused by the workplace. This can be challenging for someone dealing with the effects of workplace stress. Everyone gets stressed out at work from time to time, but what is the threshold? At what point is someone experiencing excessive stress?
This is why you need as much evidence as possible to back up your claim, as a vague claim will be denied. The stress must be verifiable through some means. Medical records from doctors and psychiatrists can prove the severity of your stress. Statements from co-workers and family members who have witnessed the manifestations of your stress are also helpful.
Taking Legal Action
Physical injuries that occur as a result of a workplace accident are easier to prove than stress. Each person handles stress differently, so these cases can be subjective. It is important to have a skilled lawyer on your side to help you understand your rights.
The Vineland, NJ law firm of Rosner Law Offices, P.C can help obtain the evidence needed to prove your stress-related workers’ compensation claim. Don’t lose out on your benefits. Contact their office at (856) 692-6500 to schedule a free consultation.