Can You Qualify For Worker's Compensation For Depression?

Many people believe that you can only get worker's compensation if you've been physically injured. While the specific case law varies from state to state, you might be surprised to learn that you may qualify for workers compensation for emotional and mental health issues, including depression, provided that the problem was caused by your job. Here's a look at what you should know about depression and worker's compensation eligibility.

You Can Get Benefits for Depression

Although there may have been a period when depression and similar mental health issues were dismissed as something you had to work through, mental health concerns are taken more seriously now by health care providers and others. The law has adapted accordingly in most cases, considering depression to be a qualifying condition for worker's compensation provided that you can show that it was caused by or significantly worsened by a work-related task.

You Can Develop Depression After Physical Injury

If you were hurt on the job and found yourself facing a long-term recovery, you might experience some depression problems. This is particularly true if you find yourself isolated during recovery or struggling significantly to get back into the swing of things after your injury has healed. If your depression began after a physical injury on the job, that's usually a clear connection in the eyes of the courts.

You Can Develop Depression Without a Physical Injury

While depression following an obvious injury is easier to document and support, depression can also occur without a physical injury to encourage it. In those cases, it's harder to prove it's connection to your work. In order to qualify for worker's compensation in that case, you'll need to show a doctor's evaluation that your depression is being worsened by events at work and that your job was the legal cause of your depression.

Depending on the state you live in, you may have to show that your work is the sole or major contributing cause of your depression, while in other states it only needs to have a clear effect on your symptoms. Documented patterns of hostile behavior, a negative work environment or other issues may be enough to prove this for your case. Also, working in a high-stress industry or working exceedingly long hours can also play a role.

The more you understand about the cause of your depression and how your work affects it, the better chance you'll have of getting the funds owed to you if your job is the cause. Talk with an attorney like Shoap Law Offices for more advice about your specific situation.