While the most common type of workers’ compensation claims has to do with physical injury, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all workers’ comp claims are limited to injury to the body. Psychological injury and mental stress caused by a job can, in some cases, qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Here’s what you should know about this smaller sector of legitimate injury.
Criteria That Must Be Met
Certain criteria must be met in order for a psychiatric or psychological issue to be considered compensable under workers’ compensation laws. First and foremost, the condition must be listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
Additionally, there are certain issues that would cause an employee to be ineligible for compensation, including but not limited to:
- Employees who do not have a substantial work history with the employer
- Workers who are terminated before filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Employees who claim their psychiatric or psychological injury is the result of good-faith actions by the employer. For example, deciding not to give an employee a promotion or raise or writing the employee up for poor attendance
- Employees who have not sought professional help for their condition
Burden of Proof
In cases of psychiatric or mental stress injuries, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. You must clearly show that the psychiatric issue or mental stress you experienced was primarily caused by your job or working conditions. This is where an experienced workers’ comp attorney becomes most valuable. If you can’t produce evidence that shows your job or working conditions are predominantly the cause of your condition, your case will likely be dismissed.
Typically, it is necessary to show records of a formal diagnosis made by a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist. Also, show any records that exist where medications have been prescribed for the condition, and any other relevant medical records.
Contact Wanko Workers’ Comp Lawyers
If you suffered severe mental stress or a psychological or psychiatric condition due to your working environment, you may be able to have medical costs and lost wages compensated through a claim. However, it’s essential that you consult a seasoned lawyer who can help you mount a solid case. Contact our office today for a consultation. We will discuss your legal needs in detail and find out how we can help. Call now at (985) 893-6530.