Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Depression
When somebody mentions workers’ compensation, your first thought is most likely a construction worker fallen from a scaffold or a firefighter injured in the line of duty. However, workers’ compensation encompasses a much wider range of both physical and psychological issues.
Depression and anxiety may once have been overlooked, but modern medicine recognizes them as serious and very legitimate medical issues. On average, 14.8 million US citizens older than 18 suffer from depression annually. In terms of workers’ comp, if the depression was caused by something at work, for example, an accident, are workers entitled to receive the benefits like people who get injured or develop a chronic condition like the carpal tunnel syndrome. In this article, we’ll try to give you an answer to that.
Depression and Workers’ Compensation
There was a time when the recommended treatment for depression was a smug “cheer up”. However, medicine has evolved to the point where depression is seen as a serious issue that can have a tremendous impact on your quality of life. Therefore, depression should not be treated any differently than a fractured bone or strained nerve. Therefore, if the depression comes as a result or is aggravated by an injury sustained in the line of duty, workers should be entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits. However, since there’s a lot of gray area surrounding the issue, you should hire a reputable workers’ compensation attorney to make sure your case is treated fairly. If you need to speak to an attorney please visit here: https://mlklaw.org/fresno-workers-compensation/
What Can Cause Depression at Work?
In most eligible cases, depression was directly caused by an injury sustained at work. But unlike some injuries, depression can last for long periods of time and become a chronic mental condition. In these cases, workers struggling with depression as a result of a work-related injury are often entitled to benefits even after their physical wounds have healed.
But what happens when employees develop depression not related to any injury or physical pain? The answer varies, but in most cases, employees will have to prove that the condition developed due to employment. In these cases, a psychiatrist will be required to determine whether the condition was aggravated by events occurring at work or otherwise prove a traumatic event at work was directly responsible for causing depression.
For example, if you’ve been a victim of a crime such as a robbery while at work, you will likely be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, even if the experience did not result in any physical injury.
Does Workers’ Comp Cover Lost Wages due to Depression?
Depression can affect employees’ ability to go back to work after a traumatic event. Some patients have a very hard time gathering the strength to even get out of bed. Others may find depression is affecting their ability to concentrate and do their job.
If depression affects your ability to perform your job in any way, the employer is required to take this into account and try to find a less stressful or more suitable position for you. However, if your depression is not caused by something at work, the employer is not obligated to accommodate your condition for anything else other than a gesture of goodwill.
What to Do If You Suspect You’re Suffering from Work-related Depression?
If you suspect your depression might be caused by work, you should talk to your physician. They might prescribe a drug or recommend counseling. If the depression was caused by an injury or a traumatic event at work, in most states your employer will have to pay for your treatment. To ensure that your case doesn’t get sidelined by insurance company representatives, make sure to hire adequate legal representation.