Workers' comp may cover mental stress, PTSD, says law firm
- Non-physical work-related injuries are surfacing as workers’ compensation-covered conditions, attorney Janis Antonius Eisl writes for Lawyers.com. Workplace stress and post-traumatic syndrome disorders can be just as disabling as physical injuries. Therefore, mental injuries might be covered by workers’ compensation benefits in some instances.
- Employees must prove two things about their work-related injuries: that they “arose out of” and “in the course” of employment. In the first step, the employee doesn’t have to be performing a work task, but a condition out of which the injury or disorder arose must relate to or resemble some aspect of work. In the second step, the injury or disorder must have occurred during the employment period, where the employee might reasonably be, or while the employee was, working.
- The legal site says examples of workers with mental injuries or PTSD are first-responders in stressful situations their jobs generate, store clerks after being robbed and office workers facing heavy workloads or short deadlines.
Lawyers.com says that workers must have a physician validate their mental state in most cases. The site also advises employees to consult an attorney. Employers’ role is to review carefully all documentation and other pertinent information employees provide to prove their eligibility for workers’ comp coverage.
Mental stress is less visible than a physical injury and might be harder to prove as a workers’ comp-covered condition. Employers count workers’ comp among their biggest expenses and strive to keep costs as low as possible, just like with any large business expense. They need assurances that any condition – physical or mental – is truly work-related and therefore eligible for coverage.
Also,employers must know the requirements of the workers' comp laws in their states and make sure they're in compliance.