Can I File a Workers Compensation Claim for Stress in Atlanta, Georgia?
People who work in Atlanta, Georgia can file a workers compensation claim if they get injured at work. However, in the majority of cases workers’ compensation program is for physical injuries like a burn, fracture, laceration, eye injury, back injury, etc. that occurs while doing some type of work. A stress-related claim has always remained a very small part of workers compensation program.
However, over the past few years, the number of employees who are stressed at work is constantly increasing. Psychological or emotional problems that occur at work are gradually being recognized, and a stress-related claim has a greater chance of being approved today as compared to before.
How Can Stress Be a Problem in the Workplace
Emotional or stress-related injuries that can occur in the workplace are now being given the attention that they deserve. As far as workers’ compensation is concerned, a workers compensation claim can be filed if there is a:
- Combination of physical and mental injury: In this scenario, one may sustain a severe head injury associated with bleeding inside the brain. These injuries can lead to paralysis as well as loss of memory, change in personality, mood instability, and poor cognition as well as loss of memory. Stress is an automatic consequence of such an injury. If this is the case, an employee can file a workers’ compensation claim for stress.
- Mental injury arising from a physical injury: In some cases, the worker may experience a mental problem if they have witnessed a devastating physical injury. In addition, an accident where a worker is killed or severely maimed severely could lead to post-traumatic stress among other workers. A worker can file a workers’ compensation claim for stress if this is the case.
- Direct mental trauma: A worker may directly experience mental stress as a result of the work. For example, the manager may be abusive or may place too much burden on the worker. Or the work may be very stressful like that of an air traffic controller working alone at night, weekends and with little or no breaks. If the worker’s health is being affected because of this stressful work-environment, they can file a workers compensation claim for stress.
Symptoms of Stress at Work
Stress can present in various ways. Symptoms may be immediate in some cases or delayed for a few weeks or months in others. Some common symptoms of work-related stress include:
- Anxiety: This can be moderate to severe. The anxiety can be severe enough to interfere with daily work activities. The employee may be constantly worried about what could happen at work which could negatively affect their health.
- Depression: One can also develop a mood of constant sadness, loss of interest, lack of sleep and feelings of guilt. They may also lose the desire to eat and may no longer find enjoyment in the things they used to before the injury.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: This is often triggered by images of a serious injury or a frightening event. This particular condition may last for months or even years and can be debilitating.
- Panic attacks: Some people develop panic attacks or a sense of doom after a work-related injury. This could happen because of an injury that they themselves incur at work or an injury that they know another worker has sustained.
- Difficulty sleeping: Work-related stress can also result in difficulty in sleeping. One may not be able to get a decent night’s sleep because of constant anxiety. Again, this can have significant negative consequences on one’s health.
Filing a Stress-Related Workers Compensation Claim
In Atlanta, Georgia, all forms of psychological trauma and stress are not covered under workers compensation. Till a few years ago, emotional problems or stress were not even recognized as work-related problems and were never even considered for compensation under the workers’ compensation program. However, work environments have drastically changed over the years. Employers have over-expectations from employees; sometimes salaries, promotions, and bonuses are based on meeting certain goals and objectives which might not be attainable for every employee. Sometimes, bosses can be very tough to the point of being cruel. All these factors can contribute to stress in the workplace.
If you feel you are a victim of stress-related injuries and/or health issues that are related to your workplace, you can speak to one of our Atlanta workers compensation lawyers at Ted A. Greve & Associates. Call us today, and our legal team will be able to advise you as to how you should proceed.