Occupational stress may be considered a type of occupational disease. This is a condition wherein the individual may encounter increased anxiety, mental tiredness, and other symptoms. Particular professions and jobs may involve situations that create more stress than others.

Also, specific events or incidents at the workplace can “trigger” occupational stress. These include harassment, hazardous working conditions, incidents of discrimination, and inappropriate or improper workplace atmospheres.

What Is an Occupational Disease?

An occupational disease or an “industrial disease” is an injury, illness, or medical condition that a worker gets by operating at a specific job or in a particular industry. Typically, a large group of workers from the same job or industry will all share comparable illness symptoms or injuries or be diagnosed with the same work-related disease. Occupational diseases are often a result of working in unsafe working conditions.

Workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits are often filed due to a worker suffering from an occupational disease. Work-related disease laws and occupational exposure laws exist to safeguard workers.

Regardless of their line of work, every employee has the privilege of a secure working environment. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration may help employees understand their legal privileges and options better if they believe they might have an occupational disease.

What Are Examples of an Occupational Disease?

There are many various types of occupational diseases. Work-related diseases are most common in jobs needing repetitive movements or working environments with inadequate air quality, dangerous chemicals, or poor lighting. Occupational diseases may also result from long-term exposure to digital technology screens.

Industries commonly associated with occupational diseases in workers may include mining, factory assembly plants, animal slaughterhouses, textile factories, hairdressing, and nail salons.

Some common forms of occupational diseases may include:

  • Lung diseases, including emphysema;
  • Cancers or sicknesses caused by chemicals like asbestos;
  • Muscle strain, arthritis, and joint injuries from repetitive motions;
  • Vision and hearing impairment;
  • Skin disorders including eczema, burns, and blistering caused by contact with chemicals, electricity, or machinery;
  • Back and spine injuries from heavy lifting;
  • Breathing issues like occupational asthma caused by poor air quality;
  • Loss of limbs; and
  • Head injuries, neck injuries, limb injuries, and miscellaneous injuries or medical conditions.

Some occupational diseases may be more intense in some employees when compared to a coworker. A worker might not know that they have an occupational disease right away. Some work-related diseases may not be uncovered until months or years after a worker has retired or left a job.

What Causes Occupational Stress?

A combination of different factors can cause occupational stress.

These can include:

  • Working too many hours in a day, week, or month
  • Performing work that one is not adequately trained for
  • Exposure to highly emotional or psychologically demanding issues (for instance, counseling jobs)
  • Facing penalties or being threatened with termination
  • Loss of wages, facing pay cuts or losing benefits
  • Dealing with injustice, criminal conduct, or unscrupulous acts in the workplace

Some employers may be hesitant to recognize occupational stress as an actual condition or industrial disease. Yet, occupational stress can sometimes be severe to the point that it also causes severe physical symptoms. These can include hyperventilating, shaking, nausea, upset stomach, dizziness, and panic/anxiety-like symptoms.

What Are Some Other Claims Related to Occupational Stress?

Occupational stress can occasionally relate to various other claims. For instance, occupational stress can often involve emotional distress or pain and suffering factors.

For example, experiencing a traumatic incident at work can lead to occupational stress. Since occupational stress can sometimes be challenging to specify, the damages award may be characterized as a distress or pain and suffering award. Cases involving actual physical symptoms tend to be more likely to succeed than ones that don’t include physical symptoms.

Further, occupational stress can occasionally be related to unlawful conduct in the workplace, especially harassment. Force and threats in the workplace from a peer or superior can sometimes create occupational stress. Thus, when filing a claim, it’s essential to be thorough and keep a good account of all the factors involved in your claim.

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

In the context of a personal injury lawsuit, a court may award the plaintiff damages for pain and suffering to make up for any physical or emotional injuries, loss, or illness that the defendant caused them. These damages are meant to pay for the resulting harm’s impact on the person’s quality of life. Therefore, pain and suffering damages are subjective and will generally differ on a case-by-case basis.

The actual legal definition of pain and suffering is described as the “emotional or physical distress suffered from an injury.”

What Are Some Examples of Pain and Suffering?

A court may award pain and suffering damages for a variety of reasons. The following list provides some standard examples of pain and suffering for which damages may be awarded, including:

  • Reduction in quality of life;
  • Physical pain or impairment (e.g., shattered bones);
  • Mental anguish or suffering;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Disfigurement;
  • Grief if the incident resulted in the death of a loved one; or
  • If the harm potentially shrunk the plaintiff’s life span.

When Am I Entitled to Damages for Pain and Suffering?

A person may be able to claim pain and suffering compensation if they have been injured and are experiencing any forms of physical or emotional pain connected to that injury. For example, suppose a defendant’s conduct causes enough permanent damage to a person to alter their physical appearance (e.g., scarring from a fire). In that case, they may recover damages for pain and suffering.

As a general rule, the pain and suffering must not be fictional. So, for instance, if a plaintiff lies or cannot establish that they are genuinely suffering from emotional trauma caused by the incident, it will be hard to collect damages for pain and suffering.

How Much Money Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering, and Are There Limits?

Generally speaking, monetary amounts for a pain and suffering claim are somewhat subjective. This is because there are no consistent standards in place, and it would be impossible to form them since these types of damages are directly related to the actual injury.

Nevertheless, some states have statutes that limit the amount of pain and suffering damages that a court can award a plaintiff. For example, some state laws limit damages to only three times what actual damages cost. Other states may cap damages anywhere between $250,000 and $875,000.

Another way that damages may be computed is through insurance standards. For instance, some insurance companies will use a daily rate and will use that number to multiply it by the number of days that the plaintiff has suffered.

Other insurance companies will evaluate individual factors about the injury and assign a variable between 1.5 and 5 to the final amount. Regardless of the method used, the amount cannot surpass the limit provided by a state statute.

How Is Pain and Suffering Proven?

Some proof that may offer evidence of personal injury pain and suffering claims include:

  • Medical bills and medical records;
  • The extent of injury and the related medical diagnosis proving that it exists;
  • Expert witnesses (usually medical professionals);
  • The amount of time that the symptoms have persisted;
  • Physical or mental limitations that have affected the plaintiff’s daily life;
  • Photos of an injury

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Occupational Stress Claims?

As you can see, occupational stress problems can often involve many other different injury and employment ideas. Therefore, you may wish to hire a worker’s compensation lawyer if you need help with an occupational stress lawsuit. Your lawyer can provide you with expert legal guidance on the matter and represent your interests during official court hearings.