Can I Get Workers’ Compensation for a Psychological Injury?
Mental and emotional injuries are very real harms that can occur in the course of a person’s employment. Traumatic events can happen in the workplace just as easily as they can happen anywhere else. Workers who witness a major accident can suffer psychiatric injuries just as the people involved in the accident may suffer physical injuries. Other extreme events that occur while an employee is performing their job duties can cause lasting psychological harm that makes it impossible for the employee to return to work immediately. Contrary to popular belief, these mental injuries can be covered under workers’ compensation. However, it is likely to take a skilled attorney to get you the assistance you deserve after a workplace psychological injury.
When is a Mental or Emotional Injury Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
After a workplace psychological injury, you are likely to need treatment and time to recover. Your lawyer will need to show that your mental injury was directly caused by something that happened at work, typically a traumatic event. This includes situations like:
Co-occurring physical injury - If you also experienced a physical injury during the traumatic event that caused your psychological harm, your attorney may have an easier time proving that you are entitled to workers’ compensation. Often, a physical injury will heal before the emotional side of the injury does. You may have PTSD or a more acute post-trauma concern after a frightening workplace injury.
Witnessing trauma - Even if you were not physically hurt in an accident, merely witnessing it can leave you in a state of emotional shock, especially if the accident was very disturbing or frightening in nature.
Extreme traumatic event - Workers are sometimes exposed to different types of traumatic events while on the job. Examples might include retail or bank staff going through an armed robbery or surviving a fire in the workplace.
Chronic trauma - This is particularly common for healthcare workers. Repeatedly dealing with upsetting situations at work may lead to depression or anxiety that can make performing job duties difficult. Those who work in industries where frequent harassment or threats from customers are common, such as call center employees and bar staff, may develop mental illness over time.
The important thing that your attorney must prove is that the upsetting or traumatic event or events you suffered at work are more significant than the normal daily stresses most workers face. The situation you were placed in at work must have been extreme and abnormal.
If this can be shown, you could be compensated for things like lost wages and the cost of mental health treatment.
Call a Kane County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have experienced extreme psychological trauma in the workplace and are unable to keep going to work, Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C. may be able to help you get workers’ compensation. Our Aurora workers’ compensation attorneys will fight for your mental and emotional injury to be taken seriously. Call 630-907-0909 for a free consultation to find out whether you may qualify for workers’ compensation.