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When Emotional Stress Becomes an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim

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Walner Law®

September 12, 2019


Injuries or illnesses sustained while on the job are covered by workers’ compensation. To be sure, both physical and emotional trauma are eligible for benefits. It is more common for emotional stressors to be caused by physical injuries. With this in mind, what happens when your standalone injuries are purely mental and emotional?Man in gray sweatshirt appears stressed

Your proven claim attributed to work-related stress is validated under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. However, commission administrators scrutinize the merits of your claim. Preparing yourself with the knowledge of requirements and complications can help alleviate the extra stress of filing a claim.

Does Workers’ Compensation in Illinois Cover Mental Stress?

We’ll start out by saying that it is possible for workers’ compensation to cover mental and emotional stress. There are a few critical elements that determine your eligibility. First, the emotional stress must result from your employer’s negligence or failure to exercise reasonable care. Second, you must have suffered some type of loss, injury, or damage.

As an example, a police officer is caught in the line of fire during a standoff. It’s his department’s policy for all law enforcement personnel to attend trauma therapy. His chief never arranges for or approves counseling even though the officer requested it several times. Over a period of time, he exhibits signs of PTSD that cost him medical expenses, his marriage, and his credibility at work.

In the preceding example, the officer may be eligible for workers’ compensation. The circumstantial elements of injury cases are present. However, even convincing, documented incidents of emotional stress at work must be proven. You can hire a licensed Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the evidentiary process.

The Problem with Proving Emotional Stress

Emotional stress is difficult to prove because it’s subjective in nature. This concept makes coping even tougher for someone already experiencing mental trauma. Until biotechnology improves, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers are tasked with proving your injuries in other ways.

Another consideration is that it is difficult to pinpoint the source of stress. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) can deny your claim if a major life event ran concurrently against your allegations against the work environment.

What to Do If You Think You Have a Claim

If you believe you are experiencing mental stress from work-related issues, the first step to take is to report it to your immediate supervisor. A formal report is the starting point of actualizing your claim. Document behavioral observations dictated by your co-workers as well as dates of critical events. You can use the information later in case you decide to pursue a denied claim.

Our team at Harvey L. Walner & Associates, LTD., carries more than 75 years of experience defending and proving our clients’ injury claims. Having an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney on your side is a source of strength to you and your family. Get the compensation and remedies you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with our office by calling (312) 800-8000 or by submitting our contact form.

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