Search Site

Workers Compensation Claim for Stress Related Injury

Today Your Legal Corner will discuss “employee stress and workers compensation.”

In this hectic, multitasking world in which we live, stress is unavoidable. However, when it comes to stress, we are not all created equal. According to Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, there are individuals who experience anxiety in the absence of stress and individuals who experience very little anxiety in extremely stressful situations.

In this latter group, science has demonstrated that twenty percent of individuals have a genetic variant that results in a high level of anandamide in the brain making them less anxious and less stressed out. The fact that we are all walking around with an assortment of genetic variants that make us more or less anxious or stressed makes us realize that all employee workers compensation stress claims are not alike.

Although stress-related disabilities can be both physical and psychological, the issue presented is whether the disability is deemed to be work related to be considered a viable workers compensation for stress claim.

Workers compensation resulting from stress

Employment stress, in certain instances, may be a recognizable cause of action under workers compensation law. Basically, stress may be a recognizable cause of action when the (1) stress produces physical symptoms and/or when (2) stress results in psychiatric symptoms resulting from the workplace.

While it is best to consult with an attorney, the following are examples of the basic types of workers comp stress related claims provided for general information.

Workers compensation claim with stress related physical symptoms

In a tragic case, an employee’s family claimed he suffered a fatal heart attack as a result of work stress. They argued the employee feared that he was going to lose his job and that this resulted in his fatal heart attack. The court held that to recover, there had to be a casual connection between the fatal heart attack and work strain.

The court relied on the fact that the employee’s medical records did not reflect he was concerned or stressed or feared the possibility of unemployment. Simply because one has an unfounded fear of unemployment is not enough to attribute such emotional strain to the workplace. The court concluded that subjective anxiety did not give rise to compensation.

To have a viable claim, stress must be objectively verifiable. In other words, present evidence that work stress was a material cause of the stress.

Workers compensation claim with stress related psychiatric symptoms

Do you have a boss that screams all the time? In one case, the employee claimed her boss’s screaming along with an extremely heavy workload made her job so stressful to create a compensable claim.

However, the facts were quite different. The employee received favorable reviews for her work performance contrary to what she alleged. When she left work, she told her co- workers it was to take care of her mother who was currently on hospice, not due to psychiatric stress from her employer screaming at her as she claimed.

The court held that in order to maintain a stress related claim, an individual must establish that the permanent disability materially resulted from “objectively verified” job related stress. The court dismissed her claim.

In both cases, there was a disconnect between what the employee alleged and the facts. While it may be true that an individual’s stress tolerance will vary, it is also true that just because one feels a certain way, does not make it so. It must be supported by sound evidence determined to be fact.

For a specific analysis as to whether or not you have a workers compensation for stress claim and answers to all your legal questions, do consult with an experienced workers compensation attorney.

Till next week, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner will provide information regarding “an employee’s dependents and a worker’s compensation claim.”

Victoria M. Dalton is an attorney with the law firm of Hoffman DiMuzio.

For questions, contact Victoria at [email protected] and be sure to Follow Us on Facebook for more informational articles about the law.

Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational articles about the law and is not legal advice.

Speak to a proven New Jersey attorney now
Call 856.238.5183 or click to schedule your consultation
  • 5-Star Review

    Posted On

    "We came to the office upset, concerned and profoundly unsure of what to do. Mr. Hoffman sat with us, explained options, reassured us and told us he would be there for us. He more than delivered on that commitment. If you are considering a legal firm, go no further, Hoffman-DiMuzio needs to be your choice."

  • 5-Star Review

    Posted On

    " Joe Hoffman is amazing. We cannot say enough about how well we were treated from the moment we sat down until the positive resolution! Stellar customer experience!"

  • 5-Star Review

    By Renee Zagarella

    "Wonderful, knowledgeable, kind, and informative! Within days following my free consultation, I was provided with an overview of my appointment with helpful information about my case. I truly appreciate the recommendation I was given at this firm."

  • 5-Star Review

    By Anita Campana

    "I was so very impressed with Hoffman DiMuzio from the moment I walked in. Everyone I had come across was so professional and courteous."

  • 5-Star Review

    By Mike W

    "Hoffman DiMuzio is a top notch firm. Their attorneys and staff are extremely knowledgeable and go above and beyond for you. I recommend them to everyone in need of legal service."

  • 5-Star Review

    By Harry McCormick

    When my significant other was falsely accused of committing a crime, there was only one place to turn. that place was hoffman dimuzio.

  • 5-Star Review

    Posted On Google

    "Joe Hoffman Jr took on our case and fought tooth and nail for us. Exposing the truth and serving justice for us, we felt completely vindicated. For any legal matter, criminal, traffic or otherwise, they gained two very satisfied life long customers! Thank you Mr Hoffman!"

Joseph J.  Hoffman, Jr. Attorney Photo
Joseph J. Hoffman, Jr.
Senior Partner

For more than 40 years, Mr. Hoffman has protected the interest of his clients through diligence and hard work on legal matters, both large and small. An honors graduate of Rutgers University Law School and a native of Gloucester County, Mr. Hoffman has won numerous accolades for excellence in the practice of law.

Kenneth A. DiMuzio, Sr. Attorney Photo
Kenneth A. DiMuzio, Sr.
Senior Partner

An attorney with over 45 years of professional experience, Mr. DiMuzio concentrates his practice on personal injury and workers’ compensation matters. A graduate of Georgetown University Law School and a native of Gloucester County, Mr. DiMuzio has been honored time and again for his professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.

Ernest L.  Alvino, Jr. Attorney Photo
Ernest L. Alvino, Jr.

Ernest L. Alvino, Jr. About Ernest L. Alvino, Jr. concentrates his practice in the area of workplace injuries; construction accidents; product injuries; trucking accidents; auto injuries; medical negligence and crime victim advocacy. Ernie is a lifelong Gloucester County resident, living in Mullica Hill with his wife and children. Ernie worked his way through school as…

Anooshay Asim Attorney Photo
Anooshay Asim

About Anooshay Asim Ms. Anooshay Asim is a family law attorney with The Law Offices of Hoffman DiMuzio. Her practice is focused on divorce and child custody matters. Prior to joining Hoffman DiMuzio, Ms. Asim was an avid traveler and had even lived in numerous cities across the United States as well as internationally. Her…

Jeremiah J. Atkins Attorney Photo
Jeremiah J. Atkins

Jeremiah J. Atkins About Mr. Atkins joined the firm of Hoffman DiMuzio in February 2010. Mr. Atkins’ practice covers a wide variety of employment-related matters before New Jersey State and Federal courts and administrative agencies, with a focus on discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, family leave and whistleblowing claims. Mr. Atkins also regularly represents the interests…

  • Imagine... One law firm, for life.

    New Jersey attorneys for all legal matters

    For all life's stages. For all South Jersey.

Six convenient locations

We'll meet at the office nearest you

  • Franklinville
    Lawyers Near Franklinville
  • Turnersville
    Lawyers Near Turnersville
  • Mullica Hill
    Lawyers Near Mullica Hill
  • Woodbury
    Lawyers Near Woodbury
  • Sewell
    Lawyers Near Sewell
  • Philadelphia
    Philadelphia Office
  • AV Preeminent
    Top Attorneys NJ
    Best Lawyer Award
    Best Trial Lawyers
  • AV Preeminent
  • Best Attorneys NJ
  • Best Lawyer Award
  • Best Trial Lawyers
Take action now by filling out the form below

Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship, but a lawyer from our firm will contact you as soon as possible.

Quick Contact Form