Encino Stress Related Injuries Attorney

Always looking out for the best interests of workers throughout Southern California

Due to today’s fast-paced work environments, there has been an increase in stress related injuries throughout Southern California. Employees are under constant pressure to produce more at a quicker rate. It can often result in severe physical and mental fatigue. Unfortunately, many workers’ compensation law offices are not willing to help employees with their work-related stress injury claims because they require an experienced attorney who is able to handle the unique circumstances of these types of cases. With over 40 years of proven courtroom experience, the stress related injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach can protect your rights no matter how complicated the situation.

Our workers compensation lawyers recognize that more and more employees are being subjected to stressful situations at work that are above and beyond the normal level, and are committed to getting employees the full workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. We have been committed to serving injured workers since 1972 so we understand the system thoroughly and are in an advantageous position to achieve successful results in your case as well.

The devastating effects of physical and mental injuries at the workplace

Stress can manifest itself in a variety of physical forms, including hypertension, heart conditions, aggravated diabetes, and many other ways. These injuries are a real demonstration of excessive stress, and whether or not they were a result of ongoing circumstances or a discrete traumatic event, you may have a claim for workers’ compensation.

Similarly, excessive stress can lead to mental or psychological injury as well. Stress and harassment can impede your emotional, behavioral, or mental condition to the point where it has a significant impact on your day-to-day life. Conditions such as depression and anxiety are commonly affiliated with these types of situations.

The State of California recognizes these conditions under workers’ compensation law, and it is worth securing an attorney who is committed to helping you pursue your claim, as often these types of claims are overly scrutinized by the insurance company.

Time limit to file a stress-related work injury claim

Every state is responsible for setting limitations on how long victims of injuries have to file lawsuits. This includes specific deadlines related to work injuries.  The first thing an injured worker needs to do is seek the medical treatment they need.  However, there are a few deadlines that are very important for filing a workers’ compensation claim for a stress-related work injury.

Unlike a musculoskeletal workplace injury, a worker may not realize they are suffering from a work-related stress injury immediately — they may suffer from symptoms long before they realize they have a diagnosable depression, anxiety, or PTSD.

California law permits compensation for a wide range of disability resulting from job related mental stress. Psychological stress may produce mental disorders, physical disorders, or both.

Recent changes in the law have tightened eligibility and created a higher threshold of evidence in proving cases of mental stress related disability. For instance, psychiatric stress injuries caused by normal personnel actions are no longer compensable. Typically, a worker must have been employed at least 6 months to claim cumulative mental stress injuries. More psychiatric stress cases involve expensive litigation, and costs of providing treatment, evaluation, and compensation can be extremely high.

Employers can reduce stress caused by workplace changes by ensuring effective communication with employees through:

  1. Newsletters, staff meetings, and individual communication from supervisors to workers. Rev. 7/2018
  2. Establishing internal complaint procedures and informal dispute resolution systems. These give employees outlets for getting their concerns heard and addressed.
  3. Soliciting input from employees, both formally and informally, about ways to make the work environment more productive and less stressful.

Employers can improve the management of job-related injury cases so that physical injuries do not lead to psychiatric stress injuries as well.

Employers should learn about effective ways of dealing with employees with pre-existing mental problems or stress issues that may be subject to complications in the workplace.

In addition to consideration of modified duty adjustments and rehabilitation needs for injured workers, employers can assist in resolving problems or personal issues that do not directly relate to the injury but can impact the employee’s readiness to return to work.

Firms should implement confidential employee assistance programs that acknowledge the interrelationship of work and family problems and should encourage stressed employees to seek help.

Managers and supervisors should be trained on the basics of effective supervision. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Set realistic goals for workers.
  • Make sure workers have the resources and authority to meet assigned responsibilities.
  • Give individuals an opportunity to have input on actions that affect their jobs.
  • Monitor and document the workers’ performance.
  • Let workers know how they are doing and what the expectations are for improvement.
  • Reinforce and reward good job performance.
  • Learn how to cooperate with resolution efforts.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Learn constructive confrontation of troubled employees.
  • Identify behavior patterns that may indicate problems that require professional assistance.
  • Make effective referrals to employee assistance programs.
  • Comply with legal restrictions against any form of sexual harassment or discrimination.

An injured worker exposed to very long working hours, abusive behavior, discrimination, suffering from significant sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness, angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters, loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, hobbies or sports, sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much, tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort, reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain, anxiety, agitation or restlessness, slowed thinking, speaking or body movements, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame, trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things, frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide, unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

After reporting an injury, a workers’ compensation claim needs to be filed within one year of when the workers’ compensation insurance carrier denies liability for the stress-related/psychiatric injury.  At the same time, under California law, workers should file their claim within one year of when (i) they discover their injury or illness was caused by their employment and (ii) their injury took them off work for a prolonged period of time.  Failing to file this claim within the required one-year period will very likely result in a worker being unable to recover benefits for their losses.

How to prove a stress-related work injury in Southern California

At Law Offices Of Kropach & Kropach, our work injury attorneys understand that proving stress-related injuries can be difficult. California law does recognize stress-related workplace injuries, but only when the stress at work has led to the development of another serious mental health issue.

For these cases, a stress-related injury attorney will have detailed knowledge of the mental disorders that can qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits. For an individual to be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim related to a stress-or they work injury in Encino, it must be proven that:

  • Your job is at least 50% responsible for the stress you are under.
  • You have worked for your employer for at least six months, though this does not have to be continuous employment.
  • The predominant factor contributing to the stress cannot be a good-faith, non-discriminatory personnel action.

How much compensation is available for a stress-related work injury in Encino?

There may be various types of compensation available to Encino workers who have sustained a stress-related work injury. At Law Offices Of Kropach & Kropach, our attorneys are regularly able to help clients recover the following:

  • Reimbursement for lost income if a victim cannot work while they recover
  • Reimbursement for long lasting impairment as a result of the stress-related injury
  • Medical coverage for the stress-related work injury

How an Encino Stress Related Injuries Attorney Can Help

It is especially important to have the help of a lawyer when filing a stress-related workers’ compensation claim precisely because the burden of proof for these cases can be demanding. An inexperienced attorney or other individual is not likely to achieve success without the help of a specialist. Working with our Encino workers’ compensation law firm will afford you the expertise of a certified workers’ compensation attorney. From the time a prospective client visits our law office for their initial consultation, our attorneys and legal staff will address all of your questions and concerns. Once a person becomes a client, we immediately start building your case and help clients navigate smoothly through the legal process.

If you or someone you know has suffered stress-related injuries at the workplace, it is vital to recovering the full workers’ compensation benefits to account for your medical bills, damages, and lost wages. To learn more, contact the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach in Encino and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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