Mental Health and Workers’ Comp: Is it Covered?
They say that when you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. Unfortunately, even if you love your job, not everyone experiences the best workplace atmosphere or office morale. We’ve learned quite a bit about workers’ compensation and the many physical injuries that could happen while on the job, but what happens when that injury is a mental one?
One may think that physiological conditions might not be as detrimental as a physical injury, but trust us — Just because you can’t see the injury, doesn’t mean that it’s not actively affecting someone strenuously. So what are you to do when your mental health is being deteriorated by your workplace or daily work tasks? Are mental illnesses covered under workers’ comp? Let’s find out.
Firstly, It’s important to note that mental illnesses can vary depending on severity, and it’s crucial that you get diagnosed by a healthcare professional before you can even start thinking about filing a claim. When it comes to Workers’ Compensation, any injury or illness that may have occurred MUST have had to happen during the course of your employment for it to be covered by Worker’s Comp. In addition, the injury/illness would also need to affect your daily work duties and in turn deem you unable to perform efficiently and effectively.
The biggest factor in filing a mental health workers’ compensation claim, is proof. It’s already hard enough to prove work-related physical injuries, and proving mental illnesses doesn’t get any easier. In some cases, mental conditions can be covered by workers comp IF and ONLY IF you can prove that said condition was caused by or related to work. However, In the state of Florida, in order for conditions like anxiety, depression, stress, or even PTSD to be covered by Workers Comp, the mental condition needs to stem from a physical injury. This is why getting an exact diagnosis is so important, and why getting documentation from a psychiatrist or psychologist is essential.
Identifying the cause
As we mentioned earlier, when filing for workers’ compensation due to a mental condition, the condition/illness must be traced to a physical accident that has now caused a mental condition over time. For example, in Florida, when health care workers develop PTSD as a result of working in such traumatic situations, they cannot claim that mental condition under workers’ comp because it wasn’t caused by an actual injury.
All states have different moving parts and regulations that go into their own workers’ compensation cases, so It’s important to know your state’s workers’ compensation statute and understand what elements they require when filing. Mental conditions can be a hard case to prove with Workers’ Comp, and an experienced team of attorneys can help make the process smooth for everyone. Manuel Franco of the Franco Law Firm has been serving the Tampa Bay area for years and is skilled with winning back your right to compensation for workplace injuries. If you, or someone you know, has been injured while at work, please feel free to call us at (813) 872-0929 to schedule a free consultation so you can get back to work and feel great.