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Can I Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Depression?

After an employee has been exposed to or experienced a traumatic situation in the workplace, the employee may develop a psychological condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression.

While many individuals are able to cope with mild psychological injuries on their own, for others, diseases like depression are debilitating. When a psychological injury that is the result of a work-related event develops, can a worker file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits?

Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Laws Limit Psychological Claims

Workers in Kentucky can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits anytime they suffer an injury that occurred on the job or occurs during the course of employment. However, “injury” does not include psychological injuries, except for in the case that the psychological injury is the direct result of a physical injury (KRS 342.0011(1)). This limitation is placed on all “psychological, psychiatric, or stress-related change in the human organism.”

Examples of Injuries that Meet the Definition Above

Consider the example of a workplace accident. During this accident, a large shelving unit, which is full of heavy objects, falls, crushing the leg of Worker A. Worker B witnesses the accident, and rushes over to help Worker A.

In the ensuing time following the accident, both workers develop psychological injuries. Worker B develops post-traumatic stress disorder, and has fears about going into the workplace and unreasonable anxiety about tumbling shelves. Worker B also experiences nightmares on a regular basis that involve many of the gruesome details of Worker A’s accident.

Worker A also experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as depression. The depression is a result of the fact that Worker A lost their leg, and is no longer able to work, participate in the physical activities they once loved, or even walk.

Both workers file a claim for workers’ compensation insurance. However, the only claim that is approved is Worker A’s claim for depression, as the depression is a direct result of a physical injury. Because Worker B did not experience a physical injury, they are ineligible for benefits.

Questions About Workers’ Compensation for Mental Health – How a Lawyer Can Help

Understanding the laws surrounding mental health work benefits, and proving that a psychological condition is the direct result of a physical injury, can be difficult to do. For all of your questions about workers’ compensation for mental health, the attorneys at the Frank Jenkins Law Office are here to help.

Suffering from a psychological condition can be extremely difficult to go through, or watch a family member go through. If your condition is related to a workplace injury, you may be entitled to benefits. For a free consultation where we can discuss what you are going through in more detail, call us today or contact us online. Our lawyers are passionate about helping you recover the compensation that you need to get treatment and improve your future.