Suffering an injury at work can be devastating and affect many aspects of your life. In addition to physical trauma, you may experience psychological effects as well. These injuries include conditions such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
So, will workers’ compensation pay for the treatment of depression and anxiety? In some cases, yes. Generally, to receive a workers’ compensation depression settlement, the work-related mental injury must also be connected to a physical injury.
Here, we will explore the eligibility criteria for workers’ compensation benefits related to depression and anxiety.
When Does Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Pay for a Mental Injury?
Minnesota allows for psychiatric workers’ compensation settlements when injuries such as depression or anxiety meet specific criteria. These claims are divided into three categories: 1) mental stress that results in physical injury, 2) physical injury that results in mental injury, and 3) mental stress that results in mental injury.
Mental Stress That Results in Physical Injury
Workers’ compensation covers mental injuries when an employee’s mental stress directly leads to a physical injury. The work-related stress does not need to be the only cause of physical injury, but it does need to be a substantial contributing factor.
Employees must prove causation to receive compensation for these claims. To establish causation, an employee must prove that:
- The mental stress resulted in their physical injury; and
- The mental stress was “beyond the ordinary day-to-day stress to which all employees are exposed.”
Additionally, to be compensable, the physical and psychological injuries must require treatments independent of each other. An example of this type of claim is an employee experiencing unusual amounts of work-related anxiety resulting in a stomach ulcer.
Physical Injury That Results in Mental Injury
If a physical injury sustained at work creates, aggravates, or accelerates a mental injury, it is also compensable. This type of injury can be more challenging to prove, but the right attorney can help.
To receive compensation, you must prove the following:
- The work-related physical injury caused or worsened the psychological injury; and
- A medical opinion must connect the psychological condition to the injury.
The physical injury does not need to be the sole cause of the psychological injury, but it does need to be a substantial contributing factor. It is important to note that the severity level is not a factor in these claims. An example of this type of claim is depression caused by a work injury.
Mental Stress That Results in Mental Injury
Generally, Minnesota does not allow compensation for mental stress that results in a purely mental injury.
However, there is an exception to this rule for PTSD caused by work-related mental stress. For injuries occurring on or after October 1, 2013, PTSD may be a compensable workers’ compensation injury if it arises out of and in the course of employment. To receive a PTSD settlement offer for workers’ compensation, the condition must be:
- Diagnosed by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist; and
- Meet the description of PTSD as defined in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association.
It is important to note that PTSD is not a compensable injury if it results from a work evaluation, job transfer, disciplinary action, demotion, promotion, layoff, termination, retirement, or other similar action taken in good faith by the employer.
What Can a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Do for Me?
Although proving a workers’ compensation claim for depression and anxiety can be complex, a skilled attorney can guide you through the process and help you get the damages you deserve. A workers’ compensation lawyer at Arechigo & Stokka can:
- Evaluate your case. We will review the circumstances surrounding your injury, gather relevant medical records and documentation, and assess the potential value of your claim. This initial evaluation helps you understand the strength of your case and what you can expect for compensation.
- Ensure you meet deadlines. Workers’ compensation claims have strict deadlines, and missing even one can jeopardize your ability to receive benefits. Our lawyers will ensure you meet all filing deadlines, submit the required paperwork accurately, and provide supporting documentation.
- Advocate for your rights. Our attorneys will be your advocate throughout the process, communicating with your employer, their insurance company, and any other relevant parties on your behalf. If disputes or challenges arise during the claims process, we will fight for your rights and work to resolve any issues.
- Negotiate a fair settlement. Our attorneys will negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you receive a fair and just payment that adequately covers your medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.
- Assist with medical treatment. We can help you navigate the healthcare system by connecting you to reputable doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists who understand workers’ compensation cases. They will ensure you receive appropriate medical treatment and that your medical records accurately reflect the extent of your injuries.
- Appeal denials. Some workers’ compensation claims, such as difficult-to-prove mental injury cases, are denied initially. Our lawyers can guide you through the appeals process.
- Provide peace of mind. Navigating the workers’ compensation system can be stressful, especially when you are experiencing depression and anxiety. Having an experienced attorney by your side provides peace of mind, knowing that a knowledgeable professional is handling the legal aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Legal counsel can ensure you receive the support and compensation to move forward.
Contact an Attorney Today
Workers’ compensation can cover treatment for depression and anxiety if you demonstrate that these conditions were caused or aggravated by your work and are related to a physical injury. While it may be more challenging to establish a compensable mental injury claim, an experienced attorney is essential in helping you navigate this process.
Arechigo & Stokka is a small, Minnesota-based firm that has been achieving justice on behalf of our clients for decades. Our attorneys are well-versed in the local workers’ compensation system and are prepared to fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
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.