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Archive for March, 2020

A Brief Look at Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Psychological Injuries

We all know that life in general can be stressful, but add to it issues concerning finances, family wellness and work stability, and things may seem to be unbearable at times. As workers’ compensation attorneys in Pennsylvania, we often hear from clients who have admitted to struggling with all types of injuries that are physical in nature. However, there are times when the workplace is the breeding ground for a variety of psychological stressors as well. It’s no secret that a job can be one of the highest causes of stress in one’s life. If you believe that your work-related stress has become too much for you to deal with, the Commonwealth’s workers’ compensation system provides for mental injuries in certain instances. Contact our Lancaster job accident lawyer today for more details.

What is a Mental Injury Claim?

Although mental injury claims can be complicated, a skilled attorney can review your information and help determine if you possibly qualify for benefits based on your psychological injuries. Under Pennsylvania’s system, your claim will likely fall under one of three types of mental injuries.

Physical/Mental Injuries

You may have sustained a mental injury due to a physical event or trauma at work. For example, if you suffered an injury at work while using heavy equipment, returning to the job and using that same piece of equipment may lead to a level of fear and/or anxiety that makes it hard for you to properly perform your job duties.

Mental/Physical Injuries

If you work at a job where you must perform your duties correctly or risk termination, the stress and worry associated with the position could harm you physically. Potential outcomes from this type of mental stress can be ulcers, serious migraines or even heart attacks.

Mental/Mental Injuries

While many states do not recognize mental/mental injuries, Pennsylvania does. Such injuries tend to develop from psychological trauma that occurred at work. A good example is a bank robbery. If you work at a bank, and your bank is robbed, such trauma can be devastating to your psyche — even more so if you were specifically held at gunpoint and forced to perform various acts during the robbery. Workplace robberies, active shooter incidents, on-the-job explosions — all of these can lead to anxiety and/or depression if you believed your life was at risk.

Common Causes of Mental Stress and Injuries

There are numerous issues that can lead to workplace stress and injury, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Concerns Over Job Insecurity: Given the possibility of company mergers, downsizing and organizational restructuring, it is not surprising that many workers throughout Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the US are feeling mentally stressed. Studies have shown that such insecurity takes a greater toll on workers’ physical and mental health than being out of work completely. Why? Because individuals dealing with job insecurity are often concerned about caring for and supporting their families and maintaining their households. Workers in such situations are also worried about being let go without sufficient notice, and this type of stress can keep an employee in a consistent state of unrest.
  • Heavy Workloads: No matter the industry in which you work, employers typically seek to get the most out of their employees. Unfilled job vacancies, employee illnesses or overall economic pressures may require individuals to work twice or three times as hard under such conditions. For the most part, employees can deal with this on a short-term basis; however, if the high work levels continue for extended periods of time, it can result in employees experiencing depression and anxiety, problems sleeping and poor job performance. Certain companies may also set unreasonably high expectations or goals for their workers, which can result in feelings of inadequacy and stress over their own specific accomplishments.
  • Shift Work: As our Lancaster job accident lawyer recently discussed, working various shifts can have a number of physical and mental effects on individuals. Working various hours that differ from most other workers can also be quite frustrating, as night workers may become psychologically stressed as a result of missing important social events or crucial family functions.
  • On-the-Job Bullying and Harassment: Children are not the only people who are subjected to bullies and harassing behavior. Adult employees often face these challenges in the workplace too. Some workers experience bullying from their supervisors, bosses and/or co-workers such that it leads to psychological injuries in the worker. Bullying can take several forms, including physical, psychological, social and verbal. Sexual harassment can also be a major issue for employees, particularly if the harassment is done by a supervisor or employer. Unfortunately, many workers become afraid to report such harassment, as they fear losing their jobs. So they suffer alone in silence.
  • Customer Service Positions: Undoubtedly, any worker who has to deal with customers on a regular basis is quite aware of how providing quality customer service can be a stressful job. After all, interactions with difficult and angry customers is all part of the job, right? It is important for such workers to be aware that they can still experience stress, even after a mad customer finally calms down and leaves the situation. Additionally, it is not uncommon for workers to maintain certain stress levels long after an angry customer has left. Employees may have extended concerns over what may happen if the person returns or if they have to deal with another similar situation.

Filing a Mental Injury Claim – Get Help From Our Lancaster Job Accident Lawyer

If you would like to file a mental injury claim, you are encouraged to speak to our Lancaster job accident lawyer. You should be aware that unless you have a physical injury that directly led to your mental injury, you will be required to demonstrate that your stress resulted from what’s known as an “abnormal working condition.” This may be hard to prove on your own, but if you contact our office, we will review your specific situation and work environment to determine your best course of action.