Plenty of jobs come with lots of stress, which can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Sometimes these conditions can be debilitating, making it impossible to work normally.
Which makes it natural to ask whether you can get compensation for the damage your job has done to your mind, especially if you need extensive psychiatric interventions to function.
Fortunately, the answer is “yes.”
What does it take for Workers Comp to cover a mental health issue?
As you might imagine, minor mental health issues won’t get coverage. Instead, you will have to demonstrate that your mental health issue is sufficient to make it impossible for you to do your job.
You’ll also need to prove the issue happened at work. This can be difficult, as there are many issues which could trigger a mental illness, and many of them can take place outside of work. In addition, many people with mental illness suffer chronically.
Usually, this will mean identifying a specific triggering workplace event. This could be an incident in which you were harassed, where someone assaulted you, or some other unusual event.
If you are in a known high-stress profession, however, or are forced to work unusually long hours, then a case may still be made for your work environment as the cause of the distress. This is
that every workplace faces.
As you might imagine, these claims are challenging. Even when injuries are physical there are often difficulties with drawing a clear line between the job and the injury in question. The waters get even muddier when the damage is done to the mind. Your lawyer will likely need to bring in expert witnesses to help prove the link exists.
What do you have to do to launch a mental health claim?
One thing you’ll need to do is to inform your employer as soon as you are aware there is a problem, just as if you had taken a physical injury. You must also seek and accept treatment for the issue with a doctor that your employer will choose. Be prepared for your employer to want you to return to work faster than you may be capable of returning, though perhaps with offers of additional support.
With a mental health claim you might start receiving pushback from your employer right away. If you suspect they’re going to look for any excuse to deny your claim it might be a good time to contact a workers compensation attorney who can help you navigate what is likely to be a difficult case.