There is still a stigma of sorts in our society against people who seek medical help for mental and psychological problems. Even though there are numerous campaigns to enhance the outlook on mental health, some people are still uncomfortable to seek help. And even if they do seek it, they conceal it from their colleagues and superiors and take sick days or even vacation days in order to seek treatment.
This is the wrong approach to the situation. If you are in need of mental health treatment, you should ask for days off with full worker compensation paid to you. Mental health is included in worker compensation, but there are some provisions which apply. Experts at Workers Compensation Attorney Group from Phoenix, AZ give us the basics. They do stipulate, however, that every individual state can have some additional requirements for worker compensation and that you need to contact a worker compensation attorney in your area to learn the specifics.
Just as with physical injuries and illnesses, mental health issues can cause you to miss days of work and wages. And just like with physical injuries, you should be entitled to compensation for both missed wages and medical expenses. However, things aren’t as clear-cut with mental health as we would like them to be.
The major issue with getting worker compensation for a mental health issue is proving it was caused by the workplace conditions. The cause of mental distress can be any number of things, so it is important to determine the main source of your mental health issue. This means that you must be able to conclusively prove that the workplace conditions are abnormal and are causing you mental issues.
These cases are not easy to prove, and therefore they have a lower rate of success than the majority of physical injury cases. This is why you will need the services of a worker compensation lawyer. Sadly, not even that is going to be easy. Not many worker compensation attorneys are willing to take on the case where mental health is the only claim. Since they work on commission, they don’t get paid if your case is dropped, something attorneys are often unwilling to bet on.
Best Case Scenario
If your mental health is affected by the workplace, you are not expected to return to that workplace, meaning you are looking for full permanent disability compensation, which is rarely awarded for mental health cases. Realistically, you can expect to be compensated for the lost wages and medical expenses. Anything above that is hard to win.
Most Common Claims
Some mental conditions are far easier to link to unfavorable working conditions than others. That is why statistics have shown that the majority of claims are related to just a handful of mental issues. The most prominent of them are listed below.
This is one of the most talked-about conditions of the 21st century. The overwhelming sense of unease when faced with a stressful situation, can easily be linked to the workplace. However, in order to be able to seek worker compensation for this condition, you need a physician’s testimony that the condition is preventing you from performing your daily workplace tasks, as well as a clear correlation between the condition and the workplace conditions.
Seeing how stress is not listed as a mental condition by The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, meaning that stress itself is not enough to grant you worker compensation. However, stress is easily linked with a number of both mental and physical conditions and is therefore very useful as a symptom.
Depression is the silent and crippling enemy of productivity and success. It can be brought on by any number of conditions, so it is important to establish a clear link between the workplace and the onset of depression. What’s worse, depression can come on as a result of an injury. Some people are unable to cope with temporary or permanent disability and start suffering from depression.
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD can come on as a result of a workplace injury, rendering the worker unable to return to their normal workplace duties. It is comparably easier to prove and link to the workplace conditions than other mental health issues.
Physical and Mental Injuries Combined
There is a way to include mental health issues into worker compensation without much contention, however. If the mental issue has led to a physical injury or illness, your chances of winning the claim are significantly improved. For instance, if the stress of the workplace has caused your heart attack, you are eligible for compensation on both counts. Or, it can be the other way around, when a physical injury leads to you developing anxiety or PTSD. In these cases, the mental health issue is only a part of the compensation claim. This makes it more convincing and easier to link to the workplace conditions.
Any attempt to get worker compensation for mental health problems is an uphill battle, just like dealing with the mental issues themselves. However, you should never let anyone deny you your rights. Do your best to fight for yourself, because nobody else will.