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Can I make a claim for work-related psychological injuries and stress?

View profile for Sarah Masters
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Can I make a claim for work-related psychological injuries and stress?

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) around 12.8 million days are lost due to stress at work and you may be surprised to hear that employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress. Whoever you work for, a stress risk assessment has to be conducted and acted upon. If you have suffered stress at work, then it may be possible to claim compensation for a psychological injury at work.

What is classed as a work-related psychological injury?

The HSE defines work-related stress as "stress that is caused or made worse by work. It simply refers to when a person perceives the work environment in such a way that his or her reaction involves feelings of an inability to cope. It may be caused by perceived or real pressures/ deadlines/ threats/ anxieties within the working environment.”

Work stress tends to lead to common psychological injuries at work such as:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Occupational stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

What can cause work-related stress?

Work-related stress can be caused by a number of things such as:

  • Work overload
  • Lack of control
  • Unpredictable hours, inflexible work schedules and unsociable hours
  • Poor relationships with colleagues, superiors, social or physical isolation
  • Career stagnation, under or over-promotion
  • Poor pay
  • Job insecurity
  • Unclear role
  • Harassment and discrimination

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and there may be other factors which lead to work-related stress.

Psychological injuries at work and compensation

Organisations can minimise stress at work by conducting risk assessments and acting on their outcome. If your employer knew there was a risk of psychological stress and they did nothing to prevent or reduce the risk, then you may be able to claim compensation.

If it is possible to prove that your psychological injury is caused by work, then the compensation we ask for can help pay for:

  • Private mental health treatment – avoiding NHS delays
  • Rehabilitation or therapy that may not be available on the NHS

A compensation calculation can also include: 

  • Loss of earnings – including loss of future earnings if you cannot return to work
  • Out of pocket expenses – this can include transport costs, cost of treatment and other miscellaneous expenses. Make sure you always keep your receipts
  • Loss of enjoyment – such as not being able to do day to day activities or sports you once loved
  • Injury to feelings
  • Aggravated damages – you can claim if your employer has behaved particularly badly in a situation

How long do I have to make a claim?

You only have three years to claim, starting after the date of knowledge of your injuries. So, don’t delay! Our team have plenty of experience of dealing with work-related psychological injuries compensation at work claims and will help to negotiate the best settlement possible.

Can I claim compensation on behalf of someone who has taken their own life?

There is no easy answer to this question but there have been very few successful cases where an employer has been forced to pay compensation for an employee who has taken their own life. However, if it can be proved the employer could have reasonably foreseen that an employee might take their own life as a result of psychological injuries at work and nothing was done about it, then you may have a case. If you would like to speak to a member of our personal injury team please call us on 0161 696 6235.