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Can Depression Be Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

November 7, 2018

Cherry Hill Workers' Compensation lawyers assist clients with workplace-related depression.When most of us think of workers’ compensation, physical injury in the workplace comes to mind. However, what many may not know is that depression may very well be a viable condition for obtaining workers’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation usually covers mental injuries such as depression and anxiety. Luckily, over the years the law has evolved to acknowledge the real physical, in addition to the mental, consequences caused by depression.

Those suffering from depression may be able to establish a claim that work-related activity either caused or exacerbated pre-existing depression.

The problem with obtaining workers’ compensation for depression is often in the ability or inability to explain their depression.

Physical Injuries Can Be a Catalyst for Depression

It is important to note that physical injuries can actually be a catalyst for depression. Though a physical injury may quickly heal, often depression can outlast the injury. Due to this reason, individuals may be able to receive workers’ compensation even after the physical injury is healed.

It is easiest to prove a psychological or psychiatric injury when it is related to a physical accident or illness caused by work. Some common examples include amputations, mobility issues after injuries, or surviving a trauma such as an explosion or gunshot wound.

Causation

Because it is difficult to prove that a purely mental injury is the result of a work-related incident, those with such a condition are often required to show that there is both medical and legal causation.

Medical causation is a medical evaluation, conducted by a physician, concluding that the injury is caused or aggravated by work-related events.

Legal causation is a state-by-state-determined burden of proof that requires a showing that the work was also the legal cause of the mental injury.

Some states require that the mental injury, such as depression, is a “major contributing cause” or “substantial contributing cause,” and will only allow benefits with such a showing. Other states only require that the mental injury be a “material contributing factor.”

While receiving workers’ compensation for depression and like injuries is easier to do in New Jersey than in many other states, it still requires a great deal of proof.

Depression Carries Many Negative Effects

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that depression can lead to absenteeism, lower productivity, and loss of work. It has also reported that individuals suffering from depression are at a greater risk for smoking, substance abuse, and other mental disorders.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reported that even back in 2000, depression resulted in workplace-related costs of more than $51 billion. With a large increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with depression, it can only be assumed that that number has gone up tremendously since then.

The Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP Assist Clients with Workplace-Related Depression

The law surrounding workers’ compensation for mental injuries related to the workplace can be quite confusing. That is why it is wise to seek out an experienced Cherry Hill workers’ compensation lawyer from Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP who can help you to figure out how to claim workers’ compensation for depression. For a free consultation call 856-761-3773 or contact us online today. Our office is centrally located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and we serve clients in the City of Camden, South Jersey, and throughout the state.

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