Stress And Workers’ Compensation Claims
Work-related stress can range in severity depending upon the primary cause and a wide range of other factors. In some cases, work-related stress may be compensable through the Florida workers’ compensation system when it arises from a physical work-related injury that an employee has experienced. While work-related stress on its own can certainly be debilitating, work-related stress alone is not compensable as a work injury under Florida law. If you have questions or need help with your case, it is important to get in touch with a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation attorney who can help. In the meantime, we want to provide you with more information about occupational health and stress, and when work-related stress may be compensable through the Florida workers’ compensation system.
Learning More About Stress at Work
What is work-related stress and how does it happen? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenges their ability to cope.” In addition, there are stress-related hazards at work, and employees who are under work-related stress may be more likely to sustain a physical injury on the job.
As the WHO explains, there are many different potential causes of work-related stress: “Work-related stress can be caused by poor work organization (the way we design jobs and work systems, and the way we manage them), by poor work design (for example, lack of control over work processes), poor management, unsatisfactory working conditions, and lack of support from colleagues and supervisors.” Often, both short-term and long-term stress can have health-related implications. If work-related stress does result in physical harm, is it compensable? Or, more specifically, under what circumstances can work-related stress be compensable under Florida workers’ compensation law?
When Stress Can Be Compensable
Florida law is clear: in order for work-related stress to be compensable, it must occur “as a manifestation of an injury compensable under this chapter,” and there must be “clear and convincing medical evidence by a licensed psychiatrist.” When the statute says the mental or nervous injury must arise out of an injury that is compensable, the statute is referring to a “compensable physical injury.” In addition, the compensable physical injury “must be at least 50 percent responsible for the mental or nervous condition as compared to all other contributing causes combined.”
Work-related stress alone — without a physical injury or occupational disease — is not compensable through the Florida workers’ compensation system, unfortunately.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have a work-related injury and are experiencing additional stress or mental injury in relation to it, you could be eligible to receive workers’ compensation to cover medical bills and to provide you with wage-replacement benefits. Mental distress can be complicated when it comes to workers’ compensation in Florida, but our experienced Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. are here to help you. We know how emotionally and psychologically devastating workplace injuries can be, and we want to assist you in seeking the financial compensation you need.