Does Colorado workers’ compensation cover work-related stress?

Stress is part of the lives of many people nationwide, including those in Colorado. However, if excessive stress follows workplace conditions, the expenses related to the treatment might be compensable by workers’ compensation. These are not easy claims to navigate, but with the right help, benefits may be obtained.

Work related stress could be the result of exposure to hostility at work, abusive supervisors or more. Other factors that may cause work-related stress include discrimination, unwarranted criticism, promotion refusal and other instances of employee rights violations. Workers in construction or other hazardous industries may have traumatic experiences that may cause stress. This could even be the witnessing of a co-worker suffering a catastrophic injury, which can cause trauma to a person who may fear a similar incident occurring.

The Colorado workers’ compensation only covers stress that can be proved to be work-related. The insurance company will investigate the worker’s personal life to determine whether any conditions exist outside the workplace that could have caused the stress. Also, stress is something that develops over time, and a claim within days or weeks after starting a new job will likely be rejected.

Example of a Stressful Job that Lead to Workers’ Compensation

A project manager who was responsible for 30 multimillion-dollar projects undeniably has a stressful job, but it appears that his job was even more stressful than most. His projects had several problems, including massive blow outs with contractors, including being yelled at and having his life threatened. In addition, there were delays in construction, construction mistakes and disagreements with foremen. One day, after a long and contentious meeting, the project manager had a heart attack.

Initially, the man was denied workers’ compensation benefits for apparently failing to show that his work stress caused his heart attack. On appeal, however, the reviewing body determined that he had shown that he experienced unusually high amounts of stress and that his position comes with more stress than the general public. Over time, that stress has affected his heart and eventually led to his heart attack, found the appellate body.

In some states, extremely stressful jobs that result in heart attacks can be enough for a successful workers’ compensation claim. Though this story happened outside of Colorado, it may shed some light on how to successfully file for injured employee benefits.

Working from Home can also be Stressful

According to a recently released study, people are generally less stressed at work than at home. The study, which included 15 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Brazil, and India, found that 41 percent of workers who identified as more often working from home were also identified as being highly stressed. As compared to only 25 percent of those who identified as working only in the office as being highly stressed. Immediately, these finding might come off as surprising, but a closer look could put the pieces together.

In describing the study, one researcher noted that participants had their mouth swabbed throughout the day in order to measure levels of cortisol, a naturally produced hormone that denotes stress. No matter a person’s gender or occupation, being at home was more stressful than being at work.

Even though many people have mentally or physically challenging jobs, there is a lot to do at home. For example, people often have to worry about taking care of their kids, making meals and completing chores around the house. Such challenges have become more prominent in recent months as several workers are now working at home, in response to the national health crisis.

Any Colorado worker who believes his or her stress-related medical expenses resulted from conditions or occurrences at work is entitled to pursue financial assistance. However, as mentioned, this type of claim will always be tough to navigate, and the most logical step would be to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. A skilled lawyer can handle the administrative and legal procedures related to the claim and any appeals that might be filed.

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