Some people have the common misconception that mental illnesses such as anxiety are not covered by workers’ compensation. In Minnesota, that is not necessarily true – though benefits eligibility does depend on how the mental issues arose.
Physical Injury Leads to Mental Injury
When an employee suffers from a serious physical injury at work, he may develop a mental illness as a result. A common example is someone who gets hurt, cannot work, and is diagnosed with depression related to getting hurt. Another example is having a serious accident and then developing PTSD. Both the depression and PTSD sufferers may be eligible for workers’ compensation – both for the physical injuries and the mental injuries.
Mental Injury Leads to Physical Injury
Less commonly, extremely stressful conditions at work cause a mental injury, which leads to further physical injuries. For example, an employee may experience unusual amounts of stress at work and as a result get a stomach ulcer. If the employee could show that the stress arose from work and was not from normal employment actions such as performance reviews or demotions, he might receive workers’ comp benefits for both the stress and the ulcer.
With the exception of the injuries described above, most purely mental injuries do not make employees eligible for workers’ compensation. For example, anxiety due to work conditions that does not lead to a physical injury would likely not qualify. Minnesota law says that only post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosed by a doctor is a compensable “mental-only” injury for workers’ compensation purposes.
If you have a mental illness or mental ailment that you believe is work-related and want to file for workers’ compensation, you will need to support your belief with medical diagnoses. Talk to your doctor about whether you are experiencing any physical symptoms related to your mental illness. If you decide to pursue workers’ compensation benefits, talk to an attorney about how to make the case for compensation.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your mental injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.