Should Mortuary Workers Get Workers’ Comp for Stress?

A former worker at a Fort Worth mortuary has sued his former employer for what he claims to be physical and mental injuries he sustained while working. One lawsuit claims that he suffered illness related to the job, and another says that the mental trauma he suffered entitles him to workers’ compensation. He is asking for $100,000 to $1 million in damages to cover medical costs, lost wages, punitive damages and more.

The man’s illness occurred when he was asked to perform services on a man who died from ingesting paint fumes. After working on the man’s remains, the worker claims to have suffered from chronic asthma due to a lack of safety equipment that he thinks his employer should have provided.

The second lawsuit involves post-traumatic stress that he claims to have suffered after working on a deceased mother and her three-month-old child who had been decapitated.

Should the man be compensated for his physical and mental anguish?

Texas Workers’ Comp Laws

Occupational asthma, as the worker claims he developed, comes in two forms: sensitizer-induced and irritant-induced. Irritant-induced asthma can occur due to direct irritating effect of certain substances on the airways. So, if it can be proven that the worker suffered an occupational disease related to inhaling paint fumes from a body, it is feasible that he could have a workers’ comp claim.

As far as post-traumatic stress, in Texas, mental trauma claims must be traceable to a specific time, place and cause. However, mental-mental claims like this can be a gray area and it varies on a case-by-case basis whether someone would be entitled to workers’ comp. The best course of action to figure it out is to speak to a workers’ comp lawyer about your case.



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