Can You Claim Workers' Compensation for Emotional Stress at Work?
Are you suffering from emotional stress or other mental injuries at work? Is the stress affecting your productivity, performance and relationships with friends and family? If so, you may be thinking about claiming workers' compensation. This claim allows you to get compensation for medical expenses, therapy, rehabilitation and other costs and losses incurred as a result of the emotional stress. In Australia, workers can claim compensation for emotional stress suffered at work. However, before you get the benefits, you need to provide the following information:
Proof of Mental or Emotional Injury
Claiming that you suffered from stress as a result of your work is not enough to warrant compensation. You have to prove that you have suffered mental or emotional injury as a result of your work. Some mental conditions that result from work-related stress include the following:
- Stress and anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic attacks
Some of these conditions cause physical symptoms such as headaches, pain in the body and nausea. You should be able to prove that you've suffered a medical condition as a result of the stress from your work.
Evidence That the Injury Occurred While at Work
This is one aspect of stress-related compensation claims that's hard to prove. You need to show that the emotional stress you suffer is a result of your work. In this case, the condition should have manifested after you started working for your employer. For example, if you suffered PTSD before starting the job, you can't make a claim. Also, if family-related issues such as divorce, death or illness in the family are the cause of your stress, you can't claim compensation.
You have the burden to show that your mental injury is directly related to your job. Some examples of work-related emotional injuries include the following:
- Sexual abuse, bullying or harassment at the workplace
- Work pressure
- Occupational violence
- Physical assault
- Exposure to a traumatic event
For example, if the nature of your work causes immense stress due to long hours, you can connect this to your injuries. Similarly, if you were assaulted at the workplace and suffered an anxiety disorder, you can prove this and get compensation.
Proof that You Need Treatment
Workers' compensation covers treatment and other costs associated with physical or emotional injury in the workplace. Therefore, if your condition doesn't warrant treatment, you may have a hard time getting compensated. Most mental issues, such as those listed above, are treatable. Some even call for counselling and other forms of intervention. All you need is to prove your condition is severe enough to require treatment, and you will be a step closer to getting compensation.
Navigating a workers' compensation case for mental injury can be difficult. The last thing you need is to stress yourself more. Talk to a compensation lawyer so they can take the burden off your shoulders.