You might think that work-related stress is just part and parcel of your job. However, in the same way, that employers must try to try to prevent workplace injuries, they must also consider how your job might affect your mental health. In this article on stress-at-work claims, we’ll look at why you might be entitled to claim compensation for workplace stress, what types of stress could lead to a claim, what you could be compensated for, and how the claims process works.
To help you start a stress-at-work claim, we offer a free initial consultation where your claim will be reviewed by a specialist. During the call, legal advice will be offered and your chances of being compensated will be explored. If your case looks to be strong enough, we’ll pass it on to one of our personal injury solicitors. If they decide to represent you, they’ll manage your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Please read on to learn more about stress at work claims or call us on 0800 652 1345 today to discuss your options right away.
Can I claim compensation for stress at work?
In terms of the law, there isn’t a single piece of legislation that covers work-related stress. However, several laws are in place that could form a basis for suing an employer for stress at work. They include:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – where employers must take reasonable steps to try and protect the welfare of employees at work.
- The Working Times Regulations 1998 – As working too many hours can contribute to work-related stress.
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 – where employers must conduct regular assessments to identify any risks to workers’ health and safety whilst at work.
These laws, amongst others, form your employer’s duty of care. If you’re to win a stress at work claim, you’ll need to show that:
- Your employer breached their legal duty of care; and
- Your employer’s negligence led you to become stressed at work; and
- That stress led to physical or psychological suffering.
If you believe you should be compensated after suffering because of work-related stress, please get in touch for a free assessment of your claim.
What are the common causes of work-related stress?
If you were to ask a group of workers about the factors that caused them to feel stressed at work, you’re likely to get a wide range of results. Some of the responses you might expect to see commonly, though, include:
- Unrealistic targets or deadlines – these can lead to a feeling of failure or impending failure.
- Excessive workloads i.e. being asked to do more than is possible within your working hours.
- Denial of working rights – for example, if you’re not allowed rest breaks or to take your annual leave entitlement.
- Harassment or bullying – although being picked on because of a protected characteristic is illegal under the Equality Act 2010, bullying at work can still happen and lead to work-related stress.
- Lack of training – not knowing how to do your job properly (or safely) can lead to stress and anxiety at work.
- Micromanagement – being watched and scrutinised constantly can also make for a stressful working environment.
This is not an exhaustive list of negligence that could lead to a stress-at-work claim. If there’s not an example that matches your own experiences, please get in touch and we’ll review your eligibility to claim for free.
Common symptoms of stress at work
According to the mental health charity MIND, some of the signs and symptoms of stress include:
- Irritability, impatience or anger.
- Feeling anxious, overwhelmed, afraid or nervous.
- Feeling depressed, uninterested or not being able to enjoy yourself.
- A sense of dread, fear or worry.
Some of the physical symptoms of stress can include:
- Headaches, muscle pain and fatigue.
- Panic attacks, dizziness, sweating or fainting.
- Sleep disorders.
- Nausea, breathing difficulties or heart blood pressure.
It’s important to note that compensation for workplace stress could be claimed based on new symptoms linked to your job or where an existing mental health condition is made worse as a result.
What can I do if I’m suffering from stress because of my employer?
It’s important to say that your employer won’t be able to help you deal with work-related stress unless you explain your concerns to them. As such, if you feel that your job is making you unwell, you could:
- Speak to your supervisor and explain how you’re feeling.
- Ask for an appointment with an occupational therapist.
- Speak to your GP about your symptoms.
Following your discussions, your employer may be able to:
- Share your workload with colleagues if it’s deemed to be excessive.
- Alter your targets if they’re deemed to be unrealistic.
- Offer you training to make your role easier.
- Allow adequate rest breaks to make your role less stressful.
- Seek an assessment of your role from an occupational therapist.
Importantly, you could claim for workplace mental health issues if your employer failed to spot the signs of stress such as a high number of sick days, a reduction in productivity, lack of engagement or if you’ve been making a higher number of mistakes than normal.
Can I be disciplined for suing my employer for stress?
Legally, you are entitled to claim compensation for stress at work if your suffering was caused by your employer’s negligence. So long as you have been honest about what’s happened and why it’s happened, your employer can not take action against you for making a claim.
That means you cannot be fired, demoted, blocked from promotions, picked on or disciplined for making any type of work-related injury claim. If you were to be singled out in any way as a result of your claim, it could lead to a constructive or unfair dismissal claim in addition to any other legal action.
If you do take on legal representation, your solicitor will negotiate with your employer or their insurers on your behalf. As a result, you won’t need to face any awkward questions from your employer about the claim whilst you’re working.
How much compensation can I get for stress at work?
The level of compensation awarded for stress-at-work claims is generally determined by calculating and combining general damages (suffering related to your stress) plus any associated expenses (special damages). As such, a settlement might cover:
- Any anxiety, depression and other psychological injuries linked to your stress.
- Any physical symptoms associated with your stress.
- Loss of earnings if you needed time off work for stress.
- Any impact your stress has on your hobbies or other usual activities (including your social life).
- The cost to cover the time somebody else spent supporting you while you were suffering.
- Medical expenses including private psychiatric treatment if required, for example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
- Any travel expenses linked to your claim or treatment.
- Future earnings reductions if the stress will lead to a long-term reduction in your ability to work.
During any personal injury claim, you will need independent proof to show how you’ve suffered. For this reason, during the claims process, your solicitor will arrange an appointment with a local (where possible) medical expert.
They will review any medical records available to them and discuss your suffering with you. After completing their enquiries, the expert will explain your prognosis in a report and send it to your solicitor. This report will help your solicitor to decide the level of compensation for stress at work you’ll claim.
What’s the average payout for stress–at-work claims?
Although there isn’t a pre-determined payout for stress at work claims, we are able to demonstrate some potential compensation amounts for work-related stress thanks to the Judicial College general damages guidelines. Currently, they advise:
- £19,070 to £54,830 compensation for moderately severe work-related stress.
- £5,860 to £19,070 compensation for moderate work-related stress.
Please get in touch with one of our specialists if you’d like to check whether you could be entitled to compensation for stress at work.
Providing proof for a stress-at-work compensation claim
When you claim compensation for stress at work, your employer will tend to refer your solicitor to their insurance provider. As a general rule, they are likely to deny all responsibility for your suffering at the outset of the claims process. As such, your solicitor will need to provide as strong a case as possible by providing proof to show why you’ve suffered from stress and why your employer was to blame.
Some of the types of proof they could use to support your stress at work claim include:
- Medical records. GP or psychiatrist records could be used to help prove the extent of your suffering and your initial diagnosis.
- Witness information. Witness statements from your colleagues could help to confirm your working conditions and the cause of your work-related stress.
- Correspondence. Any emails, text messages or letters sent between you and your employer relating to your stress could be used as supporting proof.
- Investigation reports. If your role was assessed by an occupational therapist, their report could be used to support your claim if it wasn’t acted upon.
- Financial records. You should provide proof of any expenses related to your suffering such as receipts and bank statements.
- A personal statement. You’ll be asked to explain how you have suffered. For this reason alone, it’s a good idea to write a diary while you’re suffering to explain when the symptoms of work-related stress prevented you from carrying out your usual activities.
Please get in touch if you’d like free advice on how to secure solid proof for your claim or to see if one of our solicitors could represent you during your claim.
Stress at work claims time limits
There is a 3-year time limitation period for filing a stress at work claim in the UK. As it’s not an immediately obvious type of injury the time limit will typically begin from the date your condition was diagnosed by a doctor.
Due to the complexity of some stress at work compensation claims, it’s often a good idea to start your claim as soon as possible. This will allow plenty of time for proof and medical reports to be collected by your solicitor.
Additionally, while your claim is being processed, your solicitor may be able to request an interim payment which could pay for private medical or psychiatric treatment to help you recover sooner rather than later.
No Win, No Fee work-related stress claims
Our solicitors know that any additional stress during the claims process is likely to be counter-productive. As such, they offer a No Win, No Fee service for any claim they take on. As you’ll know that you won’t have to pay any legal fees unless you are paid compensation by your employer, you should find the claims process a lot less stressful.
To further reduce stress levels during the claim, your solicitor will try to handle as much of the process as possible. That means they will aim to:
- Collect proof and book any required medical appointments.
- Discuss your claim with you to get a full understanding of how you’ve suffered.
- Contact your employer to let them know about your stress at work claim.
- Handle all communication on your behalf so you don’t need to speak to your employer’s insurers.
- Fight your corner and try to counter any objections raised.
- Achieve the highest level of compensation possible for your suffering.
All of this work will be carried out without any upfront legal fees. The only time you’ll need to cover the cost of the work is if your claim is won. When that happens, a success fee of an agreed percentage of your compensation would be deducted directly from your compensation so that you’re not out-of-pocket at any time.
Start a stress-at-work compensation claim today
Please call our advisors free on 0800 652 1345 if you’d like us to review your legal options today. We’ll answer any questions you might have and review your claim with no obligation.
Should your claim be accepted, you’ll be represented by one of our specialist No Win, No Fee solicitors.
Our live chat team are available today if you have any extra questions about the stress-at-work claims process.