Workers’ compensation covers any illness or injury that is the result of job-related duties. When an employee is physically injured or suffers from a work-related disease, it is easy to determine their eligibility. However, what if an employee suffers from job-related stress or develops an anxiety disorder because of their job? Determining eligibility for anxiety is more complicated, especially if the employee has a history of anxiety.
A stress-related claim can be valid under Illinois workers’ compensation laws; however, proving the case will be difficult – and stressful – for the employee. For complex claims such as these, the employee should always seek counsel from an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney.
The Issue With Stress-Related Claims
Stress-based workers’ compensation claims are not dealt with in the same manner as the typical workplace injury. Unlike a back injury or broken bone, stress claims are psychological, not seen in an x-ray or MRI scan. Hence, stress-related claims require the employee to meet a higher standard of proof when filing their claim, because they are easily refuted by the employer’s insurer.
Stress and the Individual
Stress is a personal psychological condition. Regardless of the job, there are various levels of stress, and every individual has their own threshold for stress. Because stress is a natural reaction that everyone experiences from time to time, suffering from work-related stress does not automatically constitute a valid workers’ compensation claim.
The mental distress must be severe, such as causing an emotional breakdown or even physical manifestations. If this is the case, and the stress becomes a permanent impairment for the employee, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Sudden Anxiety or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
In Illinois, suffering from day-to-day, work-related stress does not automatically grant an employee workers’ compensation benefits. If, however, the employee suffers from an event that causes sudden, unexpected stress – such as a traumatic event – that employee could be eligible for benefits.
For example, if an employee is attacked while making a delivery for work and suffers from mild post-traumatic stress disorder. Because the employee was performing within the normal duties of the job at the time of the attack, they may be able to collect workers’ compensation.
Consult with an Attorney
Employees should never assume they do not have a valid workers’ compensation claim. If an employee is suffering from work-related stress, anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder, they should first seek a mental health professional who can properly diagnose their condition. Then, the employee should seek counsel from an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney for a case evaluation.
The attorneys at Malman Law can review your workers’ compensation claim for free. If you have work-related stress, do not assume that you will not qualify for benefits. Our team can assess your case and help you determine if you have a valid claim. Call us at 888-625-6265 to get started on your case, or fill out an online contact form to schedule your consultation.