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Does Job Stress Qualify for Workers’ Comp in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma Worker's Compensation

Work can be both demanding and strenuous for most people, resulting in high stress. Although some workplace stress is part of the job, excessive stress can hinder work performance and productivity, negatively impact your emotional and physical wellbeing, and disrupt your home life and relationships.

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Persistent workplace stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and a host of other mental health issues. Many people wonder if job stress qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits.

According to Oklahoma law, although employees can seek compensation for specific injuries or occupational illnesses suffered while performing job duties, obtaining benefits for nonphysical injuries such as depression, extreme anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is restricted. Only if an emotional injury was the result of an accompanying physical injury, then the courts would consider a claim for nonphysical injuries.

Common types of emotional injuries eligible for workers’ compensation in Oklahoma include:

  • Mental injury as a result of an accompanying physical injury – When there is a physical injury in combination with an emotional injury, then an injured employee is eligible for workers’ comp benefits. For instance, if a worker suffers a serious injury and develops depression due to the lack of improvement during the recovery process, then workers’ comp benefits must cover both the physical and mental injury.
  • Mental injury caused by a traumatic workplace incident – An employee is entitled to workers’ comp benefits if an emotional injury is caused by another person’s physical injury. For example, a firefighter responds to a horrific and tragic emergency scene and suffers PTSD. Since PTSD caused chemical changes in a person’s brain and body, these changes added up to a brain injury.
  • Direct mental injury – An employee suffers mental stress caused by out-of-the-ordinary work conditions such as harassment or bullying by employers or fellow employees, as well as being a victim of rape or violent crime at the workplace.

If you suffered a mental injury as a result of one of the following circumstances mentioned above, contact the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, at (866) 590-8173.

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