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Can I receive workers' compensation for my psychological illness?

Some job requirements include stressful tasks. Perhaps after years of working, you begin to experience drastic symptoms related to your deteriorating mental health, and you believe that your worsening mental state is a direct result of your workplace.

The state of Pennsylvania works to compensate those who experience mental health disorders caused by their work environment through workers' compensation claims. Although difficult to prove mental health issues in some cases, hiring an experienced workers' compensation attorney may help you see the possible outcomes of your case. Know that if serious psychological problems affect you due to the day-to-day tasks of your position, a court may award you monetary benefits for your mental suffering.

Standards in proving mental health workplace injuries

Pennsylvania court identifies three types of psychological and mental health injuries that may stem from workplace environments. The following standards describe instances in which workers may experience their symptoms.

  1. Physical/mental standard: If your injury falls into the physical/mental category, the court recognizes that you experienced a physical injury that caused a mental injury. The injuries faced do not necessarily need to prove disabling.
    • For example, you suffer from chronic pain in your shoulders and knees. After years of working in the machinery industry, your body no longer has the ability to perform properly - entirely due to your career tasks. You require consistent breaks, pain medication and icing your body during shifts. This leaves you feeling anxious and unhelpful, leading to your diagnosis of serious depression.
  2. Mental/physical standard: Mental/physical standards in workers' compensation includes a situation when a mental injury causes a physical injury. Usually, the mental injury continues even if you quit your position.
    • For example, your job deals with high-stakes trading of clients' money. Your job requires you to work more than 12 hours per day and come into the office on weekends - You can never escape, and your boss even confronts you if you leave the office early. One day, you suffer from a stress-related heart attack. A court may award you workers' compensation due to your working conditions.
  3. Mental/mental standard: When Pennsylvania cites the mental/mental standard, a traumatic event you experienced at work or while performing work duties causes a serious mental or psychological problem.
    • For example, you drive a bus for a school district. One day, a distracted driver pulls out in front of your bus and causes a collision seriously injuring you, but you also witness the death of two children on your bus. You begin to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and you have terrifying flashbacks. You may require workers' compensation for mental injury that your experience created.

Hiring an experienced attorney may prove to be the only way to successfully win a workers' compensation case involving psychological injury. If you suffer from the above standards, it is essential that you receive regular medical treatment for your mental injuries.

Mental health is crucial to sustaining your body physically. Document all medical treatment, and reach out to an attorney willing to fight for you to obtain compensation for your workplace injury.

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