Can you get a workers’ compensation claim filed for mental illness? Even though most people think that workers’ compensation is a settlement you get after injuring yourself while doing your job (falling from a few stories on a construction site, burns, losing a finger when using machinery) you can benefit from mental illness that is work-related through a compensation claim.
Any physical injury that happened at the workplace can be easily identified. On the other hand, invisible illnesses such as stress and anxiety are far more difficult since they aren’t so obvious.
If you were diagnosed with anxiety and stress as a result of your work, you may be entitled to get workers’ compensation. Make sure to seek legal help from an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation
When a worker is injured at work, they don’t have to prove fault to get their workers’ compensation claim.
Since workers’ compensation is “no-fault,” you do not need to prove that your employer did something wrong to get your benefits.
To qualify for the benefits you should be employed instead of an independent contractor. Your workplace injuries or illnesses don’t have to be fatal such as the broken spine or traumatic brain injuries. You can get your workers’ compensation benefits for carpal tunnel, back pain from sitting all day at your desk, and so on. The exact value of your case will depend on the type of injury and its severity.
You May Get Workers’ Compensation Claim for Mental Health Conditions
Any type of work-related illness or injury may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This includes emotional or mental stress that you may suffer because of your job.
Your mental health injury or illness must be severe enough to interfere with your ability to do the job well; that is the condition for a worker to be eligible for mental health workers’ compensation claim.
For some employees, bad work experience or a challenging work environment may lead to a mental health issue. In such cases, if their condition affects their functioning to a point where they can’t do their job, the worker will get their benefits.
Let’s check an example: a healthcare provider may experience trauma from constantly seeing victims of accidents and violence in the emergency room. If the healthcare provider’s work is affected by their stress and anxiety, they may be able to seek medical treatment for their condition. They may cover the treatment as well as their lost wages, from a worker’s compensation benefits.
Another example is an employee who was attacked or harassed at work. They may develop post-traumatic stress disorder that may damage their mental health. In this case, the worker may not be able to focus and do their job, due to a vivid trauma every time they return to the worksite.
Proving That Stress or Anxiety Is Work-Related
When the worker seeks workers’ compensation, the employee carries the burden of showing that the worker’s injury or illness resulted because of their work. It should be proven that the worker’s injury wasn’t a pre-existing condition.
That is the case with physical injuries. However, with mental health issues, showing a link between the worker’s condition and their job can be more challenging. In case there is a traumatic event (like a shooting or violent attack from an outsider) that can be easily done. But in other situations,
there might not be a direct connection between one or a series of events and the worker’s stress and anxiety.
With time, the worker may develop several mental health injuries because of the nature of their job. This can make things more difficult for proving. For instance, if a supervisor or boss is abusive and treats the worker poorly (screams, yells, insults them) it could cause anxiety in the worker. This may be hard to prove, that the worker isn’t anxious because of other life situations (finances, health, personal problems).
It’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. They should be able to establish the reason for your mental health condition. The mental health professional can provide a testimony that would help you when seeking your workers’ compensation claim.
Hiring an attorney in such a case is also a good idea. They will advise you what to do next and whether or not you have a chance to get your workers’ compensation benefits.
Our team at Workers’ Compensation Lawyers is here for you. We offer a free case evaluation; schedule your consultation today. Our mission is to help you get your deserved claim.