Severe stress and anxiety may be eligible for workers’ compensation

Post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses can cause stress and anxiety that prevent a sufferer from being able to work.

For most people, stress is an ordinary part of life. It's not uncommon for one's job to regularly cause stress and even anxiety. However, some New York employees can experience stressful events on the job that go above and beyond the normal type of pressures that people endure. In these cases, it might be possible to qualify for workers' compensation benefits.

According to the New York State Workers' Compensation Board, job-related stress may be more difficult to pinpoint at first as a result of a specific incident. Even if an incident was a clear cause of emotional distress, such as witnessing a traumatic accident that seriously injured or killed a co-worker, it can take time for emotional symptoms to show up. However, employees typically have two years to report an occupational disease for workers' compensation consideration. Stress-related illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder may fall under the definition of a job-related illness.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect a person's ability to work

Web MD states that post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, affects about one in 10 Americans and is triggered by an outside incident. Research has shown that PTSD changes certain functions in the brain and can seriously impact a sufferer's ability to work and function in daily life.

According to the American Bar Association, the anxiety caused by PTSD can result in permanent impairment, and may be covered by workers' compensation if it can be shown that the condition was clearly job-related.

New York store manager claims PTSD in workers' compensation case

In one instance, the manager of a New York supermarket was approved for workers' compensation benefits for a pre-existing PTSD condition that was exacerbated by a series of workplace incidents. According to Insurance Journal, the manager called a co-worker at home for a work-related matter, and the co-worker's husband assumed that the two were having an affair. He proceeded to harass and threaten the supermarket manager to the point of contacting his supervisor and triggering an internal investigation. Reportedly, the co-worker's husband also initiated a murder-for-hire plot.

The manager requested a transfer to another store but eventually filed for workers' compensation, claiming his PTSD symptoms had become too severe to allow him to continue to work. A workers' compensation judge agreed that the manager's condition was work-related. After the employer appealed, a workers' compensation board panel upheld the judge's decision.

Proving that PTSD or other stress-related illnesses can prevent you from working can be challenging, but may be possible with help from an experienced workers' compensation attorney. The emotional and physical effects of severe stress and anxiety are more fully understood today, including how these conditions affect a person's ability to work and enjoy life.

Keywords: workers' compensation, injury, mental illness