Workers’ Compensation In Florida For Mental Injuries
Some workplace accidents in the Tampa area can be so traumatic that they result in psychological or mental injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In some circumstances at work, an employee might also experience significant stress or anxiety as a result of the workplace conditions and may be wondering if they are eligible to seek workers’ compensation benefits. In short, what Florida law defines as a “mental or nervous injury” is not on its own compensable, but it may be compensable through the workers’ compensation system if it occurs in conjunction with a physical workplace injury. Our Tampa workers’ compensation lawyers can provide you with more information.
Mental or Nervous Injury On Its Own is Not Usually Compensable
If you have suffered what Florida law describes as a “mental or nervous injury due to stress, fright, or excitement only,” then that injury is not typically compensable through the Florida workers’ compensation system. The statute explains that this type of injury is “not an injury by accident arising out of the employment,” which means that it does not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Further, the statute clarifies that any physical injury at work that results from a mental or nervous injury that is otherwise “unaccompanied by physical trauma requiring medical treatment” is not compensable through the workers’ compensation system in Florida.
Mental or Physical Injuries Resulting from a Physical Injury May Be Compensable
While the Florida workers’ compensation system will not cover mental or nervous injuries on their own, or physical injuries that arise out of mental or nervous conditions, it is important for you to know that a mental or psychological injury resulting from a physical injury on the job might in fact be compensable. Here is what the statute says about compensable mental injuries resulting from physical injuries:
“The compensable physical injury must be and remain the major contributing cause of the mental or nervous condition and the compensable physical injury as determined by reasonable medical certainty must be at least 50 percent responsible for the mental or nervous condition as compared to all other contributing causes combined.
Further, the statute explains:
“Mental or nervous injuries occurring as a manifestation of an injury compensable under this chapter shall be demonstrated by clear and convincing medical evidence by a licensed psychiatrist meeting criteria established in the most recent edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association.”
To sum this information up for you, in order for a mental or nervous injury to be compensable, all of the following must be true:
- Compensable physical injury must be the major contributing cause of the mental or nervous condition (meaning that the physical injury is at least 50 percent responsible for the mental injury or condition);
- You will need to prove that the physical injury was the major contributing cause of the mental injury by clear and convincing evidence (a heightened evidentiary standard); and
- Licensed psychiatrist will need to provide medical evidence.
Contact a Tampa Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you need assistance seeking compensation for physical and mental injuries from a workplace accident, you should get in touch with one of the Tampa workers’ compensation attorneys at Franco Law Firm today.