In recent years, the number of claims for mental injuries resulting from work-related emotional stress—so-called “mental-mental” cases—has increased dramatically. This Comment examines the feasibility of allowing workers' compensation benefits for plaintiffs claiming mental-mental injuries. In Part II, this Comment addresses the origin of workers' compensation in Nebraska and will evaluate Nebraska's denial of relief for mental-mental injuries. In Part III, this Comment explores causation and workers' compensation decisions from other jurisdictions and contrasts the majority and minority positions. In Part IV, this Comment addresses various rules of statutory construction and interpretation and applies such rules to present workers' compensation statutes. Furthermore, mental-mental injuries are compared with tort and heart attack cases in an effort to show their similarity and how recovery for mental-mental injuries would be consistent with public policy. Finally, this Comment proposes a statutory compromise to provide limited relief for workers who can prove an injury while guarding against fraudulent claims. The statutory compromise would better serve the purposes of workers' compensation law by developing rules of fact to consider mental-mental claims, rather than the present rule of law barring all mental-mental claims whether or not the employee can prove an injury. Under the proposed rule of fact approach, courts could evaluate mental-mental claims on a case-by-case basis and generally could leave the loss on the employee, unless the employee could prove a mental stimulus in the workplace substantially contributed to the mental injury.
Victoria L. Ruhga,
Mental Stress and Workers' Compensation in Nebraska,
69 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol69/iss4/4