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When Are Mental Injuries Compensable?

Mental illness can often be compensable when there is an accompanying physical injury. Work Related Stress

Mental illness caused by conditions at work or a workplace incident can sometimes be compensable under workers’ compensation, but oftentimes are not. It depends on your jurisdiction and the laws in your state. Most states do not allow employees to file for workers’ compensation benefits if they develop stress or anxiety or depression arising out of a work situation. However, mental illness can be compensable in most states when there is an accompanying physical injury that precipitated the mental illness or injury.

For instance, someone who develops depression as the result of their job could not seek workers’ compensation benefits. But if a work accident or injury occurs and as a result the employee also develops depression or anxiety, the condition would be compensable in most states. In extraordinary situations, standalone mental illness or injury can be compensable. Still, claiming a mental injury is not an easy process, and you should find an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who knows how to get the best results.

There are two basic types of mental injuries.

  1. Mental-mental. With this type of mental injury there is no accompanying physical injury. This would usually be something like PTSD, arising from a traumatic incident like robbery, harassment, or an attack. Under extraordinary circumstances like these, a strictly mental injury can be considered a compensable workers’ compensation injury. But getting compensation can still be tricky even in extreme situations. Some states are working to revise workers’ compensation laws so that policemen and first responders can receive workers’ compensation for traumatic mental injuries.
  2. Physical-mental injuries. When a person sustains a physical injury while on the job that causes pain, an inability to work, and other distressing symptoms, this can cause intense amounts of stress. When a person is in pain and unable to provide for their family, or perform normal activities, it is not uncommon for depression and anxiety to develop as well. This can be considered compensable. But different states approach these issues in different ways.

It is important that any mental injury be addressed. Just like with physical injuries, mental injuries can worsen over time if they are left untreated. If your mental injury is covered under workers’ compensation you should be able to receive medical treatment, counseling, medication, and financial compensation.

Contact James M. Hoffmann

You will need to contact a workers compensation attorney in your state to find out whether or not your mental injury is covered under workers’ compensation. Navigating mental injury cases can be difficult. Because they are more complicated that physical injury cases, you will want to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who has expertise handling cases that involve mental injuries. Insurance companies fight mental injury cases because they do not want to be responsible for another subset of compensable injuries but with the help of an attorney you may be able to get the compensation you deserve.

With more than 30 years of workers compensation experience, James M. Hoffmann can provide you with the necessary information to make the right choices so that you can receive the best medical care, benefits and income. Contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann by calling (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free Missouri Workers Compensation consultation.

Updated: February 9, 2018