When most people hear “work injury” or “workplace injury,” they think of physical injuries such as a broken bone, torn ligament, burn, etc.
However, while physical injuries are certainly the most common workplace injury, there are also psychological or mental injuries that may be compensable.
A workers’ compensation psychological injury attorney can help you understand your options.
What Is a Psychological Injury?
Psychological injury refers to mental or psychiatric conditions created by a traumatic event, physical damage, or the actions or inactions of a person.
A psychological injury at work affects the health and safety of employees. The three most common work-related psychological injuries are depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Psychological injuries in the workplace can result from several things, including:
- Physical injuries,
- Being overworked,
- Inconsistent expectations,
- High-stress situations, and
- Unsafe conditions.
It is also fairly common to see psychological injury from workplace bullying.
No matter the cause of the injury, psychological trauma from work is real, and you must have a sharp, knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney advocating on your behalf.
Categories of Compensable Psychological Injuries
In Minnesota, there are generally three scenarios involving psychological injuries.
Mental Stress Leads to a Physical Injury
In this situation, the claimant must prove their mental injury caused their physical condition.
To do this, the injured workers must show their mental stress exceeded other employees, and the injuries must require different treatment.
Physical Injury Leads to Mental Injury
In this case, the injured worker must prove that the work-related physical injury caused or worsened a mental injury.
Here, the claimant will need a medical expert to make a clear and distinct connection between their bodily injury and the resulting psychological injury.
Mental Stress Leads to Mental Injury
Mental stress causing mental injuries is typically not compensable—mainly because they are challenging to prove. However, Minnesota law allows for compensation for PTSD under certain circumstances.
The injured workers must demonstrate their PTSD developed as a direct result of work. But employees are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits if their PTSD results from “good faith” employer actions such as layoffs, performance evaluations, transfers, etc.
Workers’ Compensation Psychological Injury Attorney
At Arechigo & Stokka, we understand not all injuries are clear-cut and readily apparent. Just because your injury may be psychological does not mean you do not deserve to receive compensation.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your injury in more depth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do You Prove Psychological Injury?
Proving a psychological injury can be particularly challenging, but it is possible. To receive workers’ compensation benefits in Minnesota, the injured worker must meet specific criteria. The best way to prove your claim is with detailed reports and testimony of your treating physicians and other medical experts.
What Is a Mental Health Injury at Work?
A mental health injury is synonymous with psychological injury, and both terms are used
Are Psychological Injuries Covered by Negligence?
Generally, as with any physical workplace injury, an injured worker is limited to seeking compensation through workers’ comp. You cannot sue your employer for negligence. However, a third party may be responsible for your injury, wherein you may have a negligence claim against that individual or entity.
Josh has been representing injured workers for over 10 years. Josh was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, and attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology. Mr. Stokka alson received his law degree from the Hamline University School of Law. During law school, Josh clerked at a Minnesota law firm specializing in personal injury and workers’ compensation. Prior to practicing in the area of workers’ compensation, Josh clerked for a judge in the 7th Judicial District in Minnesota. This valuable experience gave him insight into how judges think, do their jobs behind the scene, and how to frame a case in order to obtain a favorable result. Now, he focuses 100% of his practice on defending injured workers in Minnesota.