To have a workers’ compensation claim for stress, you need to have something shocking and unusual happen to you.  Here’s an e-mail from a reader that would qualify:

I work at a video store.  We were robbed by a robber who has been sticking us up for the last few years.  I was working by myself, without security present and he put a gun to my head.  I want to know what my options are, I do not want to return there out of fear of being robbed again, and I want to know what are my options for the mental stress.

Most stress cases aren’t covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, but having a gun pointed at your head is something that doesn’t happen every day.  If it creates a stress in you to the point that you need to see a psychologist, the insurance company would have to pay for that treatment.  And if that doctor thinks you shouldn’t return to work, the insurance company will have to pay you TTD benefits.
General stress typically isn’t covered and in some cases, if you work in what is considered a “safe” neighborhood, getting robbed wouldn’t be covered either.  But a case like this, where an employee has been robbed over and over and had a gun pressed against his temple, a stress case should definitely be covered.
Our advice to this gentlemen was the same that we’d give to anyone else in his situation.  Get with a doctor who knows about these problems and get help.  You wouldn’t delay going to the doctor if you broke your leg.  In the same vein, you shouldn’t delay seeing a psychologist when you have an “I can’t take it anymore” feeling.
Assuming that his doctor tells him not to return to work at that location, the company can either place him at a safer store or the insurance company can help him find a new job at a different company within his restrictions.
Bottom line is that we have strong laws for workers in Illinois and while not every situation is a case, this is one that certainly is.  He has rights and if this were to happen to you, you’d likely have the same rights as well.

We are workers’ compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

By Michael Helfand