Collecting Workers’ Compensation for Work-Related Depression

Protecting Your Wealth in Pennsylvania

Worker holding his head in his hands.Many of us face a significant amount of stress in our daily jobs—quotas, deadlines, concerns over safety and health. Sometimes, the weight of those concerns can be overpowering. When your work environment leads to depression, a numbness so severe that you can’t work, can you file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits? The answer—yes, but it’s difficult and you need good legal counsel.

Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws recognize occupational illness as a compensable injury, and certain mental conditions fall under the category of occupational illness. Typically, workplace mental disorders fall into three categories:

  • Mental-physical disability claims—With these types of claims, a mental or emotional event manifests in a physical injury. A stressed worker may suffer a stroke, or an employee witnessing an accident may have a physical reaction, such as a heart attack
  • Physical-mental disability claims—Here, a physical injury has mental consequences. A worker may lose a finger or suffer a neck or back injury and may develop PTSD or depression as a result
  • Mental-mental disability claims—In these situations, an emotional or mental event causes further mental or emotional trauma. For example, a witness to an accident may experience depression, anxiety or other mental conditions

Compensation for Depression Caused by Work-Related Events

In Pennsylvania, most workers’ compensation claims based on depression are categorized as a mental-mental disability claim. Workers’ compensation insurers rarely approve these types of claims, customarily only when it can be clearly shown that the injured worker was subjected to “abnormal working conditions.” For some workers, such as law enforcement officers or EMTs, the definition of “abnormal working conditions” may be significantly higher than it is for most other occupations.

A smaller number of work-related depression claims are approved as physical-mental disability claims. To succeed, you must be able to convince a workers’ compensation judge that your depression stems from a work-related physical injury.

Contact Our Office

At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, we offer experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel to individuals in Pennsylvania and Delaware. To set up an appointment for a free initial consultation, call us at 610-565-4055 or contact us online.

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