The Massachusetts Workers Compensation Act states that workers’ compensation is provided for “emotional disabilities only where the predominant contributing cause of such disability is an event or series of events occurring within any employment.” Basically, this means that an employee may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits for emotional injuries, but only if a work-related event was the primary cause of that injury.
If a work-related event or events results in stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or depression, an employee may be entitled to workers compensation. But certain requirements must be met. Simply claiming that your job is stressful isn’t going to work; you have to show that a specific event, such as sexual assault or harassment, directly caused your stress. If you can answer yes to the following questions, your condition will likely be covered.
- Have you developed a permanent impairment due to the stressful event or events?
- Can you prove that a work event directly caused your stress?
- Was the stressful event outside the norm for this particular job?
Outside the Norm
Consider the third question above: Was the stressful event outside the norm? This is important because you cannot recover workers’s comp for a “stressful event” that you should have known is just a normal part of the job. For example, construction workers routinely work at high elevations. Although heights may be stressful for some people, working from high places is a normal part of construction work. As such, a workers’ comp claim for height-induced stress will probably be denied.
A MA workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine if you qualify for benefits following a work-related stress injury. But there are things you can do to expedite the process and improve your chances of success. For starters, keeping a journal of stressful events that are occurring at work can be immensely helpful if you decide to apply for benefits or bring a personal injury lawsuit. And although workers’ comp covers most work-related injuries, if negligence or misconduct played a role in your injuries, you may be entitled to additional compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.
What if I Have PTSD?
Workers’ compensation claims are complex; this is especially true when the injury is emotional. Stress is a relatively broad term, but PTSD is a form of stress caused by a specific traumatic event or series of traumatic events. For example, soldiers often come back from combat with PTSD, and people may experience PTSD after a serious car accident or an assault. If a serious work event has caused you trauma that negatively impacts your ability to do your job, you may qualify for workers’ compensation. Some symptoms of PTSD include:
- Violent or self-destructive behavior
- Trouble concentrating or focusing
- Chronic nightmares
- High blood pressure
- Stomach ulcers
All of the symptoms above can make it difficult to hold a job. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you are suffering from work-related stress or PTSD.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Workers’ Compensation Law Firm Serving All of Massachusetts
If you have been injured due to a work-related accident or event, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of MA workers for more than 50 years. Whether you are suffering from stress, PTSD, depression, or any other emotional disorder, our knowledgeable attorneys will help you get the compensation you deserve. We will analyze the details of your case and ensure that you understand your rights and options before moving forward. If you have been injured, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.