Some people believe that being physically injured on the job is the only way you can receive Workers' Compensation, but did you know that depression is another viable claim to receive benefits?
Mental injuries, such as anxiety and depression, can be included in work-related injury claims and may be covered through Workers' Compensation. If your work environment has caused your depressive state, or triggers a pre-existing condition, you may be eligible to file a claim for Workers' Comp.
Depression After an Injury
If you sustain a physical injury on the job, you may find yourself in a depressed state. If your injury requires time off the job, or an extended period of time laid up at home or on bed rest, you may find yourself feeling helpless, or useless. You may be concerned whether there is a job for you to come back to or that you will be able to perform at the same level that you did before the incident occurred. This may lead to feelings of depression.
Even after the injury is healed, you may find that the depression continues and develops into a chronic condition. If you find that you are consistently dealing with depression after a work-related injury, you may be able to continue receiving Workers' Comp even after the injury has healed.
Although there was a time when “feeling down” at work would mean you were just left alone or told to “cheer up,” we now have a different view and understanding of psychology. Depression is taken more seriously: it is a chronic state with very real mental and physical repercussions. Along with social acceptance, the law has evolved in its attitude toward individuals who suffer from depression. This allows for Workers' Compensation to be issued when the depression one endures is caused at work or triggered by their working environment.
For those who are filing a claim for strictly mental injuries, such as depression, that are not a direct result of a physical injury, more proof may be required.
In these cases, both medical and legal causes may be needed to prove the claim:
- Medical causes: An evaluation by a doctor or psychiatrist stating that the depression is a result of work-related events or is aggravated by the events.
- Legal causes: The state has determined the burden of proof that shows that the job was the legal cause of the depression.
Each state has its own standard for legal causation. Many states only disperse benefits if a “major” incident has contributed to the depression or “substantial” cause, while other states may only require it to be a “material” contributing factor. While Workers' Compensation laws are set in place to protect those who are injured on the job, the law can still be confusing, and you may decide to contact a local attorney to help you navigate your claim for Workers' Comp due to resulting depression.