Baehman Law

Workers' compensation claims for mental health issues rise

Workers' compensation insurers throughout the nation are seeing an influx of claims related to mental health issues, such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It's unclear exactly how much of a surge in those types of claims is being seen. However, one of the large companies that manages independent medical evaluations for psychiatric claims through workers' comp has seen a 20% increase in the number of evaluations it has arranged over the last two years alone.

The uptick doesn't mean that workers are more emotionally fragile than they used to be. Instead, it's more likely a reflection of the changes in laws in various states that now allow for at least some psychiatric-based workers' comp claims.

Acceptance of the idea that one's working conditions or on-the-job trauma can lead to mental illness just like it can lead to physical illness or injury is far from universal. In 16 states, workers are still unable to press a mental health claim unless they're also suffering a related physical injury.

Other states only allow such claims in specific circumstances or for specific occupations, like first responders. For example, here in Minnesota, you can file a workers' comp claim for PTSD, but not for mental conditions like depression or anxiety.

That distinction makes it important to have an accurate mental health diagnosis before you file a workers' comp claim. An erroneous diagnosis of depression when you are really suffering from post-traumatic stress, for example, could unfairly tank your claim.

If you're struggling to get the workers' compensation benefits you're due, find out more about your legal options.

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