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Workers’ Compensation for Mental Illness

October 14th, 2019 at 7:23 pm

mental-illnessIt is recommended to get a physical once a year for healthy adults, but how many times do we check in on our mental health? Mental illnesses can run in the family, but the trauma and stress can also cause mental problems. When we think about cases where workers’ compensation is received, we think of catastrophic physical injuries. However, if a mental condition is developed because of work conditions, it is eligible for workers’ compensation like any other injury or illness.

The difficult part about mental illness and workers’ compensation is proving the illness is work-related. Compensation is much less up to interpretation when someone loses a limb or has otherwise physical markings. It is easy for an insurance company to claim that mental illness has been pre-existing before claimed and that work conditions have nothing to do with it. This is why, like any other work caused illness or injury, it is important to seek medical care right away. If an employee has experienced something traumatic at work, a licensed professional will be able to diagnose the problem and relate it to the workers’ compensation claim.

Mental illness can affect a person’s ability to work. Illnesses that may be covered by workers’ compensation include anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These can either be developed on their own due to witnesses a traumatic event or develop alongside a physical injury caused by an accident. For example, if someone watches their co-workers die during a construction accident, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation if they develop PTSD because of that specific traumatic event. If another worker is injured, and cannot immediately return to work, they may develop anxiety after the accident, and workers’ compensation can be extended to cover the mental illness.

Developing a mental illness from a non-emergency situation will not likely result in being qualified for workers’ compensation benefits. Having a verbally abusive employer can cause anxiety or depression, but unless the disorder can be pinpointed to a time where the employee feared for their life, they are not eligible for compensation.

Contact a Cook County Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Proving that mental illness was developed from trauma experienced at work is an uphill battle. For the best chance of receiving compensation for work-related mental illness, contact an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney. Contact us at 630-574-2288 to arrange a free consultation today.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2430&ChapterID=68

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression

 

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