Worker’s compensation is an insurance benefit that supports workers injured on the job and unable to work. This benefit includes emotional or mental health injuries resulting from their workplace.
Unfortunately, proving the cause of a mental health issue is not always easy. Many employers do not take mental or emotional injuries as seriously as physical injuries. Proving emotional injuries is more difficult because there are no tangible, visible evidence for damages. This post will outline what worker’s compensation covers and what you need to do to prove a mental health injury is work-related.
Eligibility for a Worker’s Compensation Claim
To be eligible for a worker’s compensation claim, you need to:
- Be an employee. The benefit is not available to self-employed workers or contract workers
- Have an injury or disability that results from work. This condition could include a repetitive strain injury if you work in a hostile work environment or PTSD due to stress if you are a first responder
- Prove that your injury or disability is severe enough to interfere with your work
For mental health claims, you need to prove that your mental health injury results from your work. Gather medical records to make sure you have enough evidence to prove your mental damages. It cannot be a pre-existing condition or caused by circumstances outside of work. If your stress results from a specific incident, such as a shooting at work or extreme harassment by your boss, you can show a clear connection between the event and your mental health condition.
Because many mental health conditions develop over time, it can be challenging for workers to show a direct connection to their jobs.
Mental Health Issues Covered Under Worker’s Compensation
Worker’s compensation for mental health claims changes from state to state. Most states cover a small number of mental health conditions and usually only under specific circumstances. For mental health or emotional injuries at work, it can be challenging to prove the severity of your injury. You also need to prove your injury is a result of your work.
A few states cover PTSD claims made by first responders. Their work puts them in violent or highly stressful and upsetting situations. Some states only cover mental health injuries if the circumstances are extraordinary and not part of your usual work activities. For instance, if there was a violent incident at work, and dealing with violent individuals is not part of your regular job requirements.
Besides proving your injury results from your work, you also need to show that your mental health issue prevents you from working. A diagnosis from a medical professional and documentation showing evidence you are receiving treatment for this condition is helpful.
You also have a better chance of them accepting your worker’s comp claim if your mental health issue connects to a physical injury at work. Some workers develop anxiety or depression after a physical injury at work. If you are already receiving benefits through worker’s compensation for your physical injury, you may also be entitled to additional mental health benefits.
How Can a Worker’s Compensation Attorney Help?
The worker’s compensation claim process is complex and lengthy. Claim denials are very common, and the process could take years. A worker’s compensation attorney can help you:
- Gather the evidence you need
- Work with experts to provide testimony
- Help you sort through your case
- File the paperwork on your behalf
Worker’s compensation attorneys can help you navigate the complex and lengthy process and get your deserved benefits.
If you need to speak with an experienced worker’s compensation attorney about your potential claim, contact us at LegalASAP. We can connect you with our network of experienced and trustworthy attorneys. They can review your case for free and help you get on track.