Under Minnesota workers’ compensation law, depression that results from a work injury may be compensable in certain cases. Minnesota workers’ compensation law divides “mental injuries” such as depression into certain categories:
1. Mental Physical Cases: This occurs when work comp depression produces a physical ailment. This is likely not a situation where the issue of depression will arise, but some of these claims are still compensable under Minnesota workers’ compensation law. It is generally the employee’s burden to prove the physical ailment resulted from work comp depression.
2. Physical/Mental Cases: In situations where a work-related physical injury cases, aggravates, or leads to a mental injury like depression, that mental injury may be compensable under Minnesota workers’ compensation law. In these cases, there usually must be some sort of work-related physical injury that leads to work comp depression. If the employee can prove he or she began suffering from depression as a result of the work-related injury, then the employee may be entitled to additional benefits for work comp depression.
In order to prevail in proving a physical/mental workers’ compensation case involving depression, it is not necessary that the physical injury be the sole cause of the mental injury.
Rather, it is sufficient that the work-related physical injury be a substantial contributing factor to be producing the mental injury. In these cases, the work comp depression may trigger additional work comp benefits.
Minnesota workers’ compensation courts have not required that a physical injury be of a certain severity in order to prove a companion mental claim. The workers’ compensation judge will look at each individual case and decide whether there was a work-related physical injury.
Once that determination has been made, any associated work comp depression will likely be covered under Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits as well.
If you were injured at work and believe you are suffering from depression caused by your work injury, it is very important to obtain a medical opinion that ties the psychological condition to the physical effects of the work injury.
Our St. Paul workers’ compensation lawyers will contact your treating physician and seek these opinions on your behalf. If the doctor agrees, our Minnesota work comp lawyer will fight to get you