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Understanding Mental Injuries Claims in Pennsylvania

While many are familiar with the idea of pain and suffering as it results from other injuries and incidents, few are aware that mental injuries themselves can be compensable. Mental injury claims often come from workplace stressors and are on the rise as claims. For employers, this raises a lot of issues and creates a lot of headaches, especially in their HR departments. It is much more difficult to successfully claim one of these cases, and the issue brings up a lot of questions for both employees and employers.

Understanding the link between stress in the workplace and the mental and physical disorders that result is problematic. For instance, it is not yet fully proven that workplace stress can directly cause anxiety and depression, and it is even more burdensome to prove that the anxiety and depression did not exist in any way prior to the work stress. Even further, it is not easy to prove ongoing stress at work is the cause of a heart attack versus genetics or at-home stressors.

However, it is an important aspect of work life that needs to be better understood. The National Institute of Health estimates that the American economy spends close to $150 billion each year on stress-related issues. This number was estimated based on decreased productivity, missing work and the massive increases in medical expenses. It is also not too uncommon, especially in larger corporations, for there to be millions spent each year on stress management programs.

However, these programs largely seem to not work. The claims of stress-related mental illness and cardiovascular injury continue to rise but most employers and employees are no closer to answering which work-related stress injuries are compensable and which are not. Distinguishing the two from one another comes down to understanding the medical concepts associated with stress along with an understanding of how the legal framework of these concepts should be applied, which is out of the scope of experience and knowledge of most employers.

The burden of proof is the biggest aspect of proving such a case. It is important to know there are three different classifications of these types of claims: physical/mental, mental/physical, and purely mental. In a physical/mental injury, a physical stimulus leads to a mental injury. In a mental/physical injury, a mental or emotional experience leads to a physical injury. In a purely mental incident, there is a mental or emotional stimulus that leads to a mental injury. If you have been victim to any of these three incidents, contact us today. Our team will help you build evidence to ease the burden of proof and bring you closer to the compensation you deserve.

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