It is common knowledge that work environments bring about daily stress. However, these are usually minor in nature as long as typical work conditions are concerned. At times, there are more stressful environments that lead to psychological and physical manifestations. Some of these are severe enough to keep an employee from work for days or weeks.
If you have a similar condition, you need to be aware of workers comp for stress and anxiety. There is coverage for this kind of condition, but it is very difficult to prove your right to a claim. At least, you need to hire a stress in the workplace employee rights lawyer in order to get a better chance at winning.
How does physical stress injury qualify me for compensation?
Common examples of physical stress injuries are chronic back injury due to repetitive stocking of shelves, carpal tunnel syndrome due to typing, or nerve damage from excessive operation of a jack hammer. What you can see in all these cases is that the physical condition or injury has resulted from actions or duties that are natural for their employment position. Whenever you get such type of injury and have enough proof that the cause of this is solely your experience at work, you can file for a claim.
Can I file workers’ compensation for stress?
Yes you can under the Toronto stress leave law, and with the help of work related stress lawyers. Stress as a disabling injury cannot be a good enough evidence to entitle you to compensation. However, you can use it as a material that has led to a more major injury such as the ones mentioned above. It can be very difficult to persuade the court by yourself, but a work related stress attorney can make your case more convincing.
The most questionable aspect of these types of cases is the disability itself. Most people won’t believe that a person cannot work due to a solely a psychological cause. All the more if you only frame your problem as simply work stress. In order to solidify your claim, you will need to present various evidences. A lawyer can guide you on what acceptable documents you can provide.
Has anyone won a stress case on workers compensation?
There have been many attempts at claiming workers comp for stress leave, but it has been very limited due to the basis that physical stress should result from the regular duties of an employee. Since the basis is actually on the physical aspect instead of the psychological side, most stress-related cases have been unsuccessful. However, there is one notable case that has opened doors for considering psychological illness as a disability.
In the 1960 case of Carter v. General Motors, the petitioner was an assembly line worker who developed difficulty in keeping up with the speed of the production line. This resulted into frequent barrages from his supervisor. Because of this, he had a psychological breakdown. It was evident that Carter’s condition resulted entirely from the abuse he received from work, and thus was judged as completely work-related.
This case raised a significant question. Is it the employer’s responsibility to take the economic burden of such incidents? And if so, does that mean that employees who have taken mental injuries are to be treated differently from those who have taken physical injuries due to work? Given enough evidence of causation, the court ruled that injuries brought about by repetitive events in the workplace have the same effect as injuries brought about by discrete events. The court accepted psychological stress as the disabling injury and has given Carter compensation entitlements. However, there were limits imposed factoring the severity of the injury.
Decades later, another case about an employee who has suffered abuse and was fired from his job was filed. His supervisor shouted at him rudely and was violent and insolent with mixed racial slurs. He claimed that this constant abuse caused physical and emotional stress and that he was unable to work due to shock, insomnia and nausea. The evidence led the court to believe that the work environment brought about severe trauma and that the termination was done without just cause or provocation. As a result, the supervisor’s management style constituted an emotional event enough to entitle the employee for a valid compensation claim.
How to File a Successful Claim
Under the Ontario stress leave law, there is a list of acceptable conditions. If you think your situation falls under one of them, you have a good chance of getting compensation. Refer to your local social security insurance office for the detailed process of filing a claim. You can also talk to a lawyer for help. What is important is that:
- You are confident you have a viable illness or injury caused by work.
- You have medical evidence past and present to prove your claim.
- Your employer has given you workers compensation benefits.
As long as you follow the right process and fill out the forms honestly, your application should be accepted and reviewed. Once you receive their decision, take appropriate action. In case your application is denied, you can still request for another review. In this case, you should get a lawyer to represent you and better state your claim to the court.