First, it’s important to note that in order for an employee to recover compensation for a psychological disability, the worker’s mental health status must be disabling (preventing him or her from work) and the psychological disability must be a work injury. Because of this, the first and second types of mental health issues discussed below are often the most sensible types of workers’ compensation cases to pursue. However, both can be extremely difficult to win without legal counsel.
Understanding Work-related Mental Health Issues
Not all mental health issues are the same; in fact, there are distinct types of work-related mental health complications. First, a mental-physical problem where a mental health situation at work (such as extreme stress) leads to a physical response (such as a heart attack). Or, extreme stress at work can also result in a psychological injury that is physically disabling, like severe depression that prevents a person from getting up out of bed.
The second type is the exact opposite: physical-mental. In a physical-mental episode of psychological harm, a physical injury on-the-job leads to a mental health problem, such as post-traumatic stress disorder from work injury.
Finally, the third work-related mental health issue is a mental-mental issue, or where a work accident worsens a pre-existing mental condition. For example, a worker with minor anxiety may increase to a state of mania because of something he or she witnesses at work.
If the psychological problem is already existent, then the worker will have to prove that the work-related accident is what worsened the mental disability. No compensation is available for a pre-existing condition.
Getting Workers’ Compensation for Psychological Disabilities
If the psychological disability was caused by a work-related condition that was not an injury, then you will have to prove that the work-related conditions were so extreme and abnormal as to result in the psychological disability. It must also be determined that the stress experienced was unreasonable for the person’s employment.
For example, it is understood that a police officer is naturally submitted to a different type and degree of stress than people who are not maintaining the peace. Therefore, it’s unlikely that a policeman could pursue a workers’ compensation claim based on stress felt at a crime scene.
How a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
If you’ve suffered a psychological disability from a work-related incident or accident and are unable to return to work, Cordisco & Saile LLC wants to help you. To discuss a workman’s comp claim, call Cordisco & Saile LLC today at 215-642-2335 – it’s important that you act fast so as to not violate the state’s statute of limitations!