Is Work-Related Stress Covered by Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina?

April 1, 2021 | By Riddle & Brantley Accident Injury Lawyers
Is Work-Related Stress Covered by Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina?

Workers’ Comp for Stress

It can be very difficult to successfully present a stress or mental health claim under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. The NC Work Comp system is designed for people who suffer an injury by accident on the job. If you cannot point to a specific incident that caused you to suffer mentally, your workers’ compensation claim is likely to be denied.

In North Carolina, Workers Comp claims for Stress are extremely difficult, and are more likely to be approved when tied to a physical injury - Riddle & Brantley

Therefore, if you’re seeking workers’ comp for stress, it is important to try and supplement your mental health claim with some sort of physical injury claim if possible.

Workers’ Compensation Attorney Handling Stress and Mental Health-Related Claims

Workers’ compensation claims for work-related stress can be exceptionally difficult to pursue. However, there are certain circumstances in which it is possible to get workers’ comp for stress or mental health issues such as PTSD, especially if you can tie your mental health problem to a specific injury on the job.

There is no obligation, and we don’t get paid unless you do. If we don’t recover workers’ compensation benefits for you, you won’t pay any attorney fees.

Call 1-800-525-7111 and let one of our Board-Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation review your claim.

In cases in which a workplace injury results in long-term disability, our North Carolina disability attorneys can assist with those claims, as well, including claims for disability for mental health.

“Can I Get Workers’ Comp for Stress in North Carolina?”

Maybe. Depending on the unique facts and circumstances of your case, you may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits for stress or mental health problems resulting from a workplace accident.

For example, take an injured worker who was working at a convenience store and was the victim of an armed robbery. That worker is probably legitimately mentally traumatized by the incident. He or she may need mental healthcare because of the ordeal. He or she might genuinely be unable psychologically and medically to return to working at a convenience store, or in any environment where another robbery might occur. But is this a successful workers’ compensation claim under North Carolina law? Possibly.

The Industrial Commission has historically looked very critically at mental health claims. After all, any person can claim they are mentally stressed out by their job. It is much more difficult to prove a mental health injury than it is to prove a physical injury like a broken hand or leg. But if a mental health claim is accompanied by some kind of physical injury, the Commission is far more likely to consider a workers’ compensation claim to be legitimate. But the Commission is still used to seeing physical injuries, and will be more inclined to honor a physical injury than a mental one.

So, in the example of the convenience store employee who was the victim of a robbery, it would be important to note on the initial filings with the Industrial Commission if the injured worker suffered any kind of physical injury. Was the clerk tied up, or pushed? The physical injuries probably pale in comparison to the long-lasting mental health effects of the robbery, but listing the physical injuries on your filing might be the difference in having your claim accepted or denied.

Mental health claims that stem from a physical injury are far more likely to be accepted, so if you can legitimately claim any kind of physical injury, you should probably do so.

Workers Comp for mental health are more likely to be approved when connected with a physical injury - Riddle & Brantley

Now, there are some mental health workers’ compensation claims that have been accepted by the Industrial Commission in recent years. In these claims, it appears the Commission strongly weighs what kind of job the injured worker held. And the Commission looks for a specific event that brought on the mental health injury. So a police officer is more likely to have his or her claim accepted than a convenience store clerk. And a police officer who suffers stress after a shooting is more likely to have a successful claim than an officer who begins suffering anxiety and stress as the result of years of cumulative events experienced over years on the force.

For more answers to commonly asked workers’ compensation questions, please check out our workers’ compensation FAQ page.

Talk with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

If you’ve been hurt on the job, you are certainly not hoping to win a case after years of appeals and hearings. You want your case accepted as compensable on day #1. That’s why it is important to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney help guide you through the process of filing your claim.

At Riddle & Brantley, our workers’ comp team is led by two Board-Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation law. Attorneys Chris Brantley and Adam Smith have been recognized by the NC State Bar for their experience and expertise handling work injury claims. Together, our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injured North Carolina workers.

For a FREE, no-obligation consultation with a North Carolina workers’ comp lawyer, please call 1-800-525-7111.

The consultation is free and we don’t get paid unless we win your case and you receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Justice Counts and we would love to help you if we can.

*** Disclaimer: The results mentioned are intended to illustrate the type of cases handled by the firm. These results do not guarantee a similar outcome, and they should not be construed to constitute a promise or guarantee of a particular result in any particular case. Every case is different, and the outcome of any case depends upon a variety of factors unique to that case.