The brain is an organ and can experience pain and dysfunction like any other. When a person’s mental state is compromised due to work conditions, it should be taken as seriously as an external injury or other internal failure. However, mental illnesses caused by work are difficult to prove when it comes to workers’ compensation and are often questioned because there is no physical ailment.
In the event of an accident at work, or possibly a stressful environment that causes mental illness, workers’ compensation exists to protect workers. Most employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance in case their employees get hurt as a result of their employment. If an employee is permanently or temporarily unable to return to work, workers’ compensation would cover the cost of medical care as well as any lost wages.
When looking to file a workers’ compensation claim for a mental illness, you and your attorney must be able to prove that the issue arose because of working conditions or circumstances. This can either be either in your office or work environment or in public on behalf of the company. For example, you could not claim workers’ compensation for getting into a car accident to or from work. That would more likely be a personal injury lawsuit against another party in the accident. However, if you were driving to conduct business on behalf of the company, such as a meeting with a client, you may be able to collect workers’ compensation.
A mental illness such as PTSD could be caused by witnessing or experiencing trauma or caused by a stressful environment. For example, a firefighter who witnesses the death of a member of his or her team may develop PTSD, depression, or anxiety without being physically injured. Although they do not show a physical injury, a mental health professional would be able to prove that their illness was caused by the circumstances at work. Mental illnesses can affect a person’s ability to work, or do their job correctly until the imbalance is properly assessed. With proving a stressful environment caused mental illness, an employer must make reasonable accommodations for the said employee.
A person does not need to have a high-risk job in order to develop a mental illness at work. Everyone has different levels of stress, and what they are able to handle mentally. However, if it is possible to prove that a work environment was objectively stressful, an employee may be able to collect workers’ compensation. The stress of the employee in question must also be compared to the stress and workload of a reasonable position.
Contact a Kane County Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Good mental health is essential to our well-being. If you believe unreasonable work conditions have caused a diagnosable mental illness, contact an Aurora workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your case. Call our office at 630-907-0909 to schedule a free consultation.