Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover Mental Conditions?

Workers’ compensation benefits help many people recover from injuries that can result from a physically-demanding job. Bone fractures, spine injuries, and muscle tears are all common conditions that prompt employees to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Harm that results from a job can include more than physical harm. There are many workers who, for example, are exposed to dangerous substances in their everyday roles, and develop occupational illnesses as a result. The workers’ compensation laws in some states do allow for the distribution of benefits to employees with occupational illnesses, but certain work-related illness cases present a legal gray area: Mental illnesses.

Mental conditions that are caused by stresses at work are just as common as physical harm, yet workers’ compensation insurance providers are often hesitant to allot benefits for employees who are suffering.

In general, claims that an employee was diagnosed with depression or anxiety because of their job are not going to result in the recovery of benefits. It is unfortunate, but the current state of the workers’ compensation system does not account for these claims. One reason for this is that the reason for a mental illness can be impossible to prove — the demands of a job can certainly contribute to such a condition, but there are many other factors at play.

An injured employee may be able to recover additional benefits through their workers’ compensation claim if a mental condition is related to a physical injury. For example, if the worker suffers from depression and needs therapy because their work injury prevents them from fully enjoying life, that treatment could be covered by their workers’ compensation settlement, as it is a condition of the physical harm.

In certain industries, mental illnesses — particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — are considered a risk of employment. Some states provide workers’ compensation benefits to firefighters and other first responders who develop mental distress caused by their job, independent of any physical injury.

At McHargue & Jones, LLC, we dedicate our legal practice to representing the rights of injured workers. Our goal is to help you get the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to following an on-the-job accident. Contact us today to discover your options.

Our consultations are cost- and obligation-free. Discuss your case with our experienced lawyers by calling (312) 739-0000, or use our message form to reach the team.