Job-related stress has become a major concern among Americans, and it has escalated significantly over the past few years. The connection between job stress and heart attacks are so well acknowledged that any police officer suffering from a heart attack on or off the job is automatically compensated on grounds of work-related injury.
According to a report by Harvard and Stanford Business Schools, the most common types of health ailments caused due to job stress include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, effects on mental health, and can often lead to fatal conditions, as well. In fact, almost 120,000 people get killed every year due to job stress. Moreover stress-related health problems account for five to eight percent of annual healthcare costs (approximately $180 billion each year) in the U.S.
What Qualifies as Occupational Stress?
Occupational stress is defined as the physical or psychological disorders associated with an occupational environment. Occupational stress is one of the major health hazards that manifest symptoms, such as extreme anxiety, tension, cramps, headaches, or digestive problems.
The major causes of work-related stress are:
- Working for prolonged hours
- Performing jobs that one is not sufficiently trained or capable of
- Continuous exposure to highly challenging and emotional issues
- Being threatened with termination or facing heavy penalties
- Pay cuts, loss of wages, loss of benefits, etc.
- Illegal conduct, discrimination, unethical acts, conflicts with co-workers, etc.
The most stressful job positions in 2016 include firefighters, police officers, airplane pilots, etc. However, employees who suffer from work-related stress are eligible to file occupational stress claims if they are able to prove that the stress is due to the nature of their work. Take the example of Sandy, whose husband suffered from various health-related problems due to the nature of his work. Raymond Shebell, a renowned lawyer in NJ, helped Sandy fight for her husband’s rights and make sure that he got the best care.
When Are You Eligible for Compensation for Occupational Stress?
Have you been stressed at your work? Did it result in permanent impairment? Can you prove the stress was primarily work-related? If the answer to all the above questions is yes, you might have a case. Almost all jobs involve some level of stress, but if it goes above a certain limit and affects your health, it is necessary that you take action.
Physical stress injuries are often easily identifiable and can be proven easily. However, with help of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, you can easily prove your suffering and get compensated for the damages. Remember, the workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, so you must work with a lawyer to understand the laws in your state and get the best benefits.
In order to be eligible to file a case and get compensation, here are a few things that you should consider:
- You must be able to prove the stress was work-related. This is important since stress can be caused by many factors. For instance in California, a worker needs to prove that work or work conditions were the predominant cause (51 percent) of your condition. This means that you don’t have to prove that your work was solely the cause of stress.
- In order to qualify for workers’ compensation for stress, you need to be employed with a particular employer for at least six months. Since it is believed that stress develops over time, it is necessary that you have worked for a long time with the employer.
- Stress claims are often very difficult to prove, because it is often impossible to provide evidence regarding the stress. This is also another reason why it is recommended to hire a lawyer to represent you for a stress-related claim.
It is essential that you hire an experienced lawyer to represent you at court for your stress-related claims, since most of the time it is an uphill battle. Here are three major factors that must be considered when finding the best lawyer:
- The lawyer must be well-versed with workers’ compensation laws in your state, and must know how to use them to your benefit.
- The lawyer must have prior experience in stress-related cases, so that he/she can calculate the damages precisely.
- The lawyer should be able to gather enough evidence (using networks) to prove that the damages caused due to stress were considerable.
Work-related stress has reached such a level that we often consider it to be a part of our lives. What most of us don’t understand is that stress can have adverse effects on our mind and health. If you believe that the work-related stress is too much and it is taking toll on your overall health, it is necessary that you take immediate actions to improve your condition and get compensation, so that you can improve the quality of your life.