Stress – everyone has it whether we like it or not. While typically this stress is manageable, there are times when it can become overwhelming and start to affect one’s everyday life. Therapy and medication can better equip a person to deal with the effects of stress. However, when work-related issues are the primary cause behind the stress, the question comes into play as to who is responsible for these medical costs, lost wages, and other related expenses.
No Straightforward Answers
If you think this is a straightforward answer – it’s not. Courts have given conflicting verdicts. For example, a New Jersey woman was denied benefits despite showing evidence of an excessive workload and screaming boss, while another New Jersey woman was awarded workers compensation based on an unreasonable workload, despite having a pre-existing condition. This certainly shows that judges evaluate work-related stress workers’ compensation claims on a case-by-case basis.
California’s Six-Point Guide
California has led the way in clarifying what constitutes an official workers’ compensation claim and what doesn’t, by creating a six-point guide. All six of the following conditions must be met in order to file a worker’s compensation claim in the state.
1.The employee must be employed with the company for at least six months.
2.The employee must have a diagnosed psychiatric condition that is listed in the California Labor Code.
3.The employee must be able to prove that the cause of the stress-related illness was caused predominately by a specific work-related event or a series of events.
4.The employee must be able to show that the triggering events were not due to “good faith” actions on part of the employer, such as a necessary change in job duties or a poor work review.
5.The cause of the stress cannot stem from previous litigation between the employee and the employer, such as the denial of a previous workers’ compensation claim.
6.The workers’ compensation claim cannot be filed after the employee has been terminated or provided with notice of termination.
The truth is that it’s a tough call that may only be figured out in the courts. While this six-point guide doesn’t cover every aspect of a workers’ compensation claim, it does provide a good place to start. Claimwire also can help, by providing invaluable workers’ compensation resources and information. The Claimwire website also offers First Report Injury Forms for all 50 states and provides a quick and easy on-line reporting system.