Employers must have workers compensation insurance if they have one or more people working for their company. Generally, when people think about workplace injuries, they think about physical injuries. That might include broken bones, back pain or exposure to toxic chemicals. What people don’t always think about is how workers compensation lawyers can help you pursue claims for other types of injuries, specifically mental health injuries.
If you’ve suffered a mental health injury as a result of your work, you have a way forward. It’s important to understand how workers compensation insurance may cover your treatment. While specific coverage is based on your state laws, workers compensation lawyers can help you determine the coverage available to you.
Mental Health at the Workplace
According to the 2018 Mental Health and Stress in the Workplace study from the CDC, almost 20% of adults in the U.S. report having some type of mental health disorder. Perhaps more alarming, 71% of adults reported symptoms of stress and anxiety. Mental health illness can also cause physical symptoms, such as headaches. It can impact other health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes too.
Working-age adults spend a good chunk of their lives at the workplace. The environment you work in can be uplifting and help you achieve better mental health. Conversely, it could be the cause of your stress and mental health problems. Indeed, people who work in stressful or traumatic environments can suffer mental and physical health problems alike.
In fact, in a 2021 Mind the Workplace Report by Mental Health America, the statistics on mental health for working adults are staggering. As many as 90% of the respondents said that workplace stress impacts their own mental health. Additionally, 60% said they don’t get enough help from managers and supervisors to deal with that stress.
The lack of support can cause a lot of emotional drain and lead to burnout or other physical health issues. When you feel burned out and stressed at work, you may be more likely to quit. Even if you decide to stay though, you may have difficulty concentrating, and your work productivity could suffer. Both of these events can lead to even more stress.
So, if you’re experiencing mental health problems at work, remember that you aren’t alone. It’s important to prioritize your mental health, so if you feel that your job has led to a mental injury, workers compensation lawyers can help you pursue the benefits you deserve.
Workers Compensation Coverage for Mental Health
Increased awareness of mental health, especially in the workplace, has led to more focus on workers compensation insurance and how it can or should cover mental health injuries. Generally, mental health coverage is available if you also suffer a physical injury. For example, if you lost a finger in a workplace accident and suffered PTSD as a result, workers compensation insurance may cover treatment for both.
However, as most workers compensation lawyers know, it’s not as straightforward when your claim is only for mental health injuries.
To get workers compensation insurance to cover an injury, you must be able to prove that it happened at work. For a physical injury, such as a fall or a car accident in a company vehicle while you’re on the clock, it’s easier to prove the connection to work. For mental health injuries, though, the line isn’t always as clear. Your attorney can help you identify next steps in cases like this.
Coverage for Mental-Health-Only Claims
A handful of states cover workplace injuries that are only related to mental health — in other words, an injury that isn’t physical. Some states cover mental-health-only injuries in limited situations, such as for first responders who work in high-stress environments.
The challenge for getting workers compensation to cover your mental injury (if that type of coverage is available in your state) is to prove that it happened as a result of your work, and not as a result of something external or some other underlying or pre-existing condition.
Mental health injuries are also challenging because they often develop slowly over time. Some stress, anxiety and PTSD can relate to a specific incident, such as a workplace shooting. In that situation, it would be easier to get workers compensation to cover the injury.
However, most mental health injuries are the cumulative result of many different issues and not just one or an obvious series of events. Mental health injuries may even be exacerbated by events that happen outside of work. For example, you might have a manageable level of stress at work but then have a family member pass away. The combination of the two things makes your workplace stress unmanageable.
With all the nuances and factors that may affect your mental health injury, seeking help can guide you forward. To determine your options for filing a claim and monitor your health, it’s important to see a medical professional for any physical or mental injury you experience at work. A workers compensation attorney can then use the information your doctor gathers to fight for your rights.
Workers Compensation Lawyers Can Help You Understand Your Options
Many people experience signs of PTSD, depression, anxiety or stress as a result of their work.
Workers compensation lawyers can help you better understand the specific insurance coverage available in your state. They can also explain what to do to prove your mental health injury was work-related so you can pursue the right claims and get the mental health treatment you need.
However, don’t delay. Get started on your claim so you don’t miss any deadlines.