Securing Compensation for Work-Related Stress and Trauma

Work-related stress and trauma are serious issues that can have a profound impact on an individual’s mental and physical health. In Miami, Florida, as in the rest of the United States, employees have the right to seek compensation for these issues.

In this article, we examine the legal framework in our state as it pertains to compensation for psychological issues, and how a Miami workers compensation attorney can help guide you through this process.

Understanding Work-Related Stress and Trauma

Work-related stress and trauma can arise from a variety of circumstances. These may include excessive workload, harassment, discrimination, or witnessing a traumatic event in the workplace. According to The American Institute of Stress over 60% of workers have high stress levels causing extreme fatigue and a feeling of having lost control.

The effects can be severe, leading to conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Stress does not only affect employees but also has consequences for employers, with over 30% of employees being absent from work for up to 6 days due to stress.

Legal Framework in Florida

In Florida, the workers compensation system is governed by the Chapter 440 of the Florida Statutes. This law provides for compensation for “accidental injury or death arising out of work performed in the course and the scope of employment.”

However, the law primarily addresses physical injuries. When it comes to psychological issues like stress and trauma, the situation becomes more complex. Under Florida law, workers compensation for mental or nervous injuries is only available if the condition is accompanied by a physical injury that requires medical treatment.

Overcoming Legal Challenges

Given the legal complexities, securing compensation for work-related stress and trauma can be challenging. There are two main ways that employees in Miami, Florida, can pursue a claim:

Workers Compensation Claims

If the stress or trauma is accompanied by a physical injury, or if it can be demonstrated that the psychological injury is a result of a physical injury, a workers compensation claim may be successful.

find out how to file a claim for stress and anxiety related to work

Personal Injury Claims

If the stress or trauma is due to the intentional or negligent actions of an employer or coworker, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is a separate process from a workers compensation claim and requires proof of fault.

Workers Compensation Claims For Stress

As mentioned, an employee can collect workers compensation for work-induced stress if he or she also suffers a physical injury. In addition, the employee’s stress and injury must have a significant impact on one another. Florida law allows a workers compensation claimant to get additional benefits for stress if he or she:

  • Demonstrates the link between the mental condition and the injury. The employee’s physical injury must be at least 50 percent responsible for his or her nervous condition.
  • Provides adequate evidence. Claimants must have a diagnosis and prognosis from a licensed psychiatrist according to the criteria established for mental disorders by the American Psychiatric Association.
  • Suffers unduly. Workers compensation will only provide nervous condition benefits for anxiety related to the specific compensable injury.
  • Claims short-term benefits only. A person may only claim stress or nervous suffering benefits for up to six months after the date that his or her physical injury reaches maximum medical improvement.

Personal Injury Claims

In a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent, and that this negligence caused the plaintiff’s injury. This could involve demonstrating that the employer failed to provide a safe working environment, or that a coworker’s actions were intentionally harmful.

Contact a Miami Workers Comp Lawyer Right Away

If you are experiencing work-related stress and trauma, you need to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible, to determine if you have a valid workers compensation claim. Keep in mind that in Florida, a workers comp claim must be filed within 2 years from the date of the injury or the date in which the employee became aware of their injury or change in condition.

In order to ensure that you meet all administrative and legal requirements, contact a Miami workers comp attorney with Work Injury  Rights as soon as possible. Call 954-324-COMP to schedule your first consultation.