Q&A: Workers Comp for Psychological Injuries
Not all on the job injuries are physical. Sometimes the worst or most pervasive problems are psychological. Stress, anxiety, and depression are some of the more common psychological injuries one can develop on the job. The following FAQ can help you decide on a a course of action if you determine that you are suffering from such an injury.
How is a psychological injury assessed?
It can be more difficult to prove a psychological injury, or stress claim, since it is harder to quantify compared to a physical injury. You will need to seek counseling or therapy so that the condition can be formally diagnosed. The injury must also be traceable to your job as the cause, per the medical professional. Common causes are stress, over work, or abuse in the workplace.
Will you need documentation to prove work is the cause?
The more documentation that you can provide, the better. Examples of possible documentation are time clock records that show long or odd hours at work, or records of increased responsibilities outside of your job description. If you are bullied or harassed on the job, you will need to file complaints and keep documentation off all harassment.
What can hurt a possible claim?
The majority of your psychological injury must be caused by conditions at work. This means that if you had drama in your personal life at the time that could also have lead to the injury, you may not receive workers comp. Marital problems, financial difficulties, or trouble with substance abuse can all be held accountable for your injury unless you can prove that the problem was due to your work situation. For example, overwork and stress leading to marital issues.
How is workers comp assessed for a stress injury?
This depends on the injury and the recommended treatment. Often, a paid leave of absence with short term disability payments is offered because this will give you the necessary time to recover from stress. Medical bills for the treatment of the psychological injury will also be covered in most cases.
What if there is also a physical injury?
It isn't uncommon to be diagnosed with a psychological injury in addition to a physical work injury, especially if the physical injury or the circumstances around it are particularly traumatic. Generally, the physical injury will qualify for standard worker's comp, and then you may get additional compensation for treatment of the psychological side effects.
For more help in navigating this difficult worker's comp scenario, contact a lawyer like Hardee and Hardee LLP in your area.