Does Workers’ Compensation Law Cover Mental Illness?
Work-related injuries vary in their nature and cause mostly physical or financial. Sometimes, a worker can develop a mental illness due to the job he or she is performing. The coverage of the workers’ compensation system varies in each state.
The Workers Compensation Claim:
An injury or illness occurs at the workplace when the worker is performing his or her duties is insured under workers’ compensation. The injury has to be severe enough that it is covered within the compensation- it must require more attention than first aid. In order to gauge the severity as well as to confirm that the injuries were work-related, an employer may ask the employee to undergo an independent medical examination.
Most of the compensation claims are based on workplace accidents, however, workplace illness is also covered under the workers’ compensation claims including the ones that are caused by continuous exposure to toxic pollutants.
Claims Related to Mental Health:
Apart from the above-mentioned physical injuries, the employee(s) can also suffer mental illness such as depression, stress, and anxiety due to the work they are performing. In few states’ laws, such types of illnesses are also covered in workers’ compensation claims. The state’s workers’ compensation law may cover mental illnesses that result in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or disorder that is result of chronic mental condition such as depression. It is important to remember that such conditions are more complicated and difficult to prove physical injuries.
Complexities of Pursuing Mental Illness:
The biggest complexity in pursuing the mental illness claim under workers’ compensation is to trace the illness to the job since the worker has started a certain job. Therefore, the claimant has to prove that there is a causal link between the mental illness and the workplace. For instance, the worker or employee has to demonstrate that he or she has suffered the stress or depression due to the workplace environment or factors instead of personal ones. Moreover, the claimant may also be required to determine that he or she is suffering permanent damage such as loss or use of the function of a body part.
Proving the Work-Related Mental Illness:
The states that covered mental illness under workers’ compensation, may require the claimant to show from objectively how the mental sickness is related to work conditions or environment. This means that the work conditions would have led to mental illness or sickness such as stressful work conditions.
In a few states’ laws, the worker has to specify the elements important to establish work-related stress under the workers’ compensation statute. When these elements are established, it becomes more easy and consistent to decide the claim is legit.
For instance, in California, the employee can be compensated if he or she determines that his or her diagnosed mental illness or disorder has caused him to be disabled. He or she further has to establish that a certain disorder was the cause of the events of employment. In order to receive compensation for such mental or psychological disorder in California, the employee must have joined the employer at least six months prior to the sickness.
Furthermore, the medical records of the claimant must have important information such as his or her personal problems, job satisfaction, development history, and performance review. Apart from these, other documents must also be included in the doctor’s report to substantiate and authenticate the mental illness claim.
Seeking Legal Assistance:
In mental health-related issues, the claimant usually seeks the help of workers’ compensation attorney. Since establishing the causal link between the mental disorder and work conditions is complicated, the attorney provides guidance and advice during the whole process.
If you are experiencing depression and anxiety after you have joined a certain organization, you must hire a workers’ compensation attorney to establish what work-related conditions have caused you the mental illness. Moreover, keep your medical record complete and updated to receive the compensation.