Many workers’ compensation programs provide benefits for mental conditions; however, it is notoriously difficult to get payment. One reason for this is that, unlike physical injuries, it is difficult to diagnose and show the extent of a mental injury (and harder to decide which treatments are necessary).
Another problem mental health claimants have in workers’ compensation cases is proving that their condition is work related. In cases where a single event led to the trauma, such as witnessing the death of another worker on the job, it can be fairly easy to establish a link between a mental injury and the workplace; however, these instances are rarely so clean-cut.
Some workers’ compensation providers will cover a psychiatric injury as long as the condition was primarily caused by your work, or you had an underlying mental condition that was significantly made worse as a result of your job. For instance, you have a higher chance of getting your claim approved if you:
- Witnessed a traumatic event. Coverage is generally granted if a worker is experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, or anxiety after a life-and-death situation at work (such as a fire, terrorist attack, hostage situation, or seeing a coworker injured or killed on the job).
- Are under extreme stress. Workers are increasingly getting workers' compensation for adverse health effects due to stressful working environments.
- Have a pre-existing mental condition. If you have previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression, or an anxiety disorder and you can prove that your workplace has made the condition worse, your treatment may be compensable.
- Have both a physical and mental injury. Employees have a better chance of winning compensation if they have suffered from a physical injury as well as a psychological one. For example, if you developed severe depression after losing a leg in a work accident, you would likely have a strong case for compensation for both injuries.
If you are unable to work due to a psychological injury, we can tell you whether or not you have a viable workers' compensation claim. Click the contact link on this page to set up an appointment, or learn more in our free informational guide, How to Avoid Becoming a Work Injury Horror Story.