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Does a psychological issue qualify for workers’ comp?

A work-related physical injury is often the cause for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, there are also conditions such as asthma or hearing loss that qualify.

Some workplace issues can affect the mental health of employees. Here are two examples of psychological conditions that could make you eligible to file a claim.

1. PTSD

You may associate post-traumatic stress disorder with soldiers returning from a tour of duty in a faraway country like Iraq or Afghanistan. However, PTSD can happen to anyone. For example, children are prone to this condition after experiencing a car crash. You may suffer PTSD or another type of anxiety disorder after sustaining a traumatic work-related injury.

2. Workplace burnout

Workplace burnout is a new classification approved by the World Health Organization and soon to be listed in the International Classification of Diseases. According to the WHO, this is a syndrome that results from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Identifying workplace burnout involves three factors:

  •         A feeling of exhaustion or depletion of energy
  •         Negativism or cynicism about work or mental distancing from the job
  •         Reduction in professional efficacy

The WHO will develop what they call “evidence-based guidelines” regarding the mental wellbeing of workers that they plan to add to the International Classification of Diseases by 2022.

Benefits to expect

If a medical evaluation finds that workplace stress is causing you to experience a psychological condition such as PTSD or burnout, you can expect your workers’ compensation insurer to pay for your medical expenses and any loss of wages.

Next steps

If you intend to submit a claim for benefits, you must first notify your supervisor, who will get the process underway. Keep in mind that a psychological injury is often difficult to prove unless you have the assistance of an attorney experienced with such cases. Take a positive view and explore your legal options promptly to increase your chances of filing a successful workers’ compensation claim.

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