Mental Health Work Injuries: Different than Physical Injuries
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Mental Health Work Injuries: Different than Physical Injuries

If you have a mental health issue that is related to work, your potential case for workers’ compensation may be a bit different than for physical injuries. Why? Minnesota law makes it more difficult to obtain benefits for mental injuries. Also, you need different types of treatment than you might for a physical injury.

Which Kinds of Mental Injuries Make You Eligible for Benefits?

The following types of mental injuries are recognized for workers’ comp purposes in Minnesota:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Physical injuries that lead to mental injuries
  • Mental injuries that lead to physical injuries

For example, a traumatic physical injury at work may lead to depression, PTSD, or anxiety. As long as the original injury also qualifies for workers’ comp and the original injury contributed substantially to the mental injury, you could receive benefits for the mental injury. Alternatively and more rarely, extreme amounts of stress at work could lead to a physical injury, such as a stroke or heart attack. You would need to show that the stress was beyond what most workers face and that it directly contributed to the physical injury.

As you can see, the barriers to receiving workers’ compensation benefits for mental injuries are higher than for physical injuries. If you believe you have a mental injury, we highly recommend that you seek legal help to help you obtain the treatment you need.

Which Kinds of Treatment Are Available for Mental Injuries?

You should seek out appropriate mental health treatment for your injury as soon as possible. This might include visiting a psychologist, licensed therapist, and psychiatrist. Even if you are in the middle of pursuing a case for benefits and the insurance company keeps refusing to pay your medical bills, keep going to treatment. Otherwise the insurance company could claim later that it was your fault that your condition worsened.

Also, please keep in mind that Minnesota law does not require the insurance company to pay for many auxiliary or “alternative” medical treatments for mental health issues. For example, acupuncture, massage, exercise classes, crystal healing stones, or group therapy may not be covered by insurance. That is not to say that you should not pursue them if appropriate or if recommended by your medical providers. Finally, make sure to visit licensed therapists and other mental health professionals.

Need help getting workers’ compensation for your 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.