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Workers' Compensation for Psychological Conditions

Posted on in BGL Law

workers' comp, psychological conditions, Illinois Workers' Compensation LawyerIn most cases, an employee's physical injuries arising out of or in the course of his or her employment are compensable under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act with few complications. However, mental or psychological injuries or conditions that are sustained in the course of an employee's employment are somewhat harder to be approved for benefits.

Generally, workers' compensation claims that are based on mental stress induced by work conditions are difficult to prove and receive compensation for because work stress is somewhat expected in most jobs. Stress caused by an ongoing feud with a co-worker, or by constant disagreements with a supervisor, is not likely to be an injury that rises to the level of qualifying for benefits unless there are additional facts to be considered.

Psychological conditions that can be directly associated with an aspect of an injured employee's duties can make a difference in terms of recovery. Claims relying on purely psychological conditions are referred to as mental-mental claims, as distinguished from mental-physical claims in which a mental or psychological condition results from a physical injury.

Mental-mental claims can either be caused by a sudden and shocking event, or by a series of work related events. Sudden shocking events that cause psychological trauma are more likely to be compensable than injuries that are the result of a sustained series of events. However, each case is different and in some cases, a claimant may be able to make a strong case that continuous workplace conditions caused a compensable psychological injury.

In mental-mental cases that involve a series of events, the injury sustained has to be in the course of employment, but also the claimant has to show that the risk of injury was more than that exposed to his or her co-workers. An employee's perception of the stress or risk of injury related to his or her employment is judged from an objective standpoint, which can be compared to the stress experienced by other employees.

A delay in seeking medical assistance is generally not advisable when it comes to workers' compensation cases. If a person is injured, seeking immediate medical help can assist in the healing process, but also document the connection between the injury and the conditions at work at the time. However, failing to talk to a therapist or psychiatrist, or failing to seek other medical help as soon as the psychological injuries begin does not mean that compensation is not possible.

Contact Us For Legal Assistance

If you suffered a psychological injury related to your employment, you may still receive workers' compensation benefits, even if you did not seek immediate medical help. Contact the experienced Crystal Lake workers' compensation attorneys at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC for a free consultation to discuss your options.

Sources:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/r23_orders/WorkersComp/2015/1123722WC_R23.pdf

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/opinions/workerscomp/2013/2120294wc.pdf

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