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Does Depression Qualify for Workers’ Compensation

| Nov 14, 2014 | Personal Injury |

Many people believe they can only get workers’ compensation for a physical injury, but sometimes mental trauma classifies as an issue for which to receive compensation. Workers’ compensation covers any work-related injuries, which can include mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. To be eligible for a depression compensation package, employees must be able to prove that their employment has either caused or strengthened their depressive state in some way. Many workers do not believe that they will be taken seriously if they claim to suffer from depression, but there are some legal points to remember.

Depression Can Get You Benefits. While it used to be that workers who were suffering from the blues would have been left to themselves or simply told to cheer up and focus on their work, that isn’t the state of modern medicine or psychology. Depression is a real mental state with real physical and mental consequences, and for that reason, it should be taken as seriously as physical injury. The law has evolved along with these changes in attitude toward depression, allowing depression sufferers to be eligible for workers’ comp when their depression is caused or aggravated by work-related activity.

Physical Injuries Can Cause Depression. Depression can often follow physical injuries, and while the treatment of these claims may be similar, chronic depression may continue well after an injury has healed. If you’ve been experiencing depression as the result of a work-related physical injury, you may continue to receive worker’s comp for mental trauma even after the physical injury has healed.

Medical and Legal Causation. For purely mental injuries, such as depression which is not brought on in conjunction with a physical injury, you may be required to prove that the injury is work-related to file a claim. This often requires both medical and legal causation. Medical causation is a doctor or psychiatrist’s evaluation that the depression is caused or aggravated by work events, and legal causation refers to a state-determined burden of proof that shows that work was the legal cause of the depression. The burden of proof for legal causation varies, but courts often only allow depression benefits to be received if the work-related cause is significant or material.

The laws regarding workers’ comp can be confusing, and depression itself can be hard to diagnose. The team at the Kyle Lawn Firm can work with you and any mental health providers to prove that your employer was the cause of your suffering and get you compensation for these injuries.