When the Pain Isn’t Physical: Does Workers’ Comp Cover Mental Health?
It’s rare to work in a job where you never feel stressed. But sometimes the emotional damage is so extreme your mental health suffers and you are psychologically injured.
You start to wonder whether mental injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. This is a concern for anyone working in Mississippi when their work-related stress is becoming overwhelming.
It’s Compensable, But It’s Hard to Prove
Yes, generally speaking, mental health injuries can be covered by workers’ compensation in Mississippi. But it’s not easy to prove a mental injury claim.
To successfully prove your claim and receive workers’ comp, you’ll have to show that the mental injury was directly related to your job. You’ll also have to prove that it fell beyond the normal scope of stress that comes with the job.
A certain level of stress is viewed as normal in most jobs. For example, being periodically overloaded with angry phone calls in your job as a customer service representative could be considered normal. It’s probably not eligible for workers’ comp.
However, if a co-worker has been harassing you to the point of mental injury and the company has failed to take action on it, this could be the basis of a successful workers’ comp claim for mental injury. Your mental health deteriorated as a direct result of your workplace environment and what happened was well beyond the scope of your normal work.
Every situation is unique, but below are a few examples of situations that may qualify for workers’ comp in Mississippi as long as they occur in the workplace.
- Discrimination based on race or gender
- Bullying that impacts your mental health
- Workplace violence, threats, and mental abuse
- Workplace shootings and being held up at gunpoint
- Being a victim of a crime at work
- Exposure to unsafe circumstances
- A single traumatic event or a series of traumatic events
Save as Much Evidence as Possible
If you’re mulling over making a workers’ comp claim for mental injury, start saving evidence right away. You’ll need to show that the mental damage you’ve experienced was directly attributable to the workplace and did significant harm to your wellbeing.
Here are some examples of the types of evidence you’ll need.
- A journal of notes with dates and times of incidents in the workplace
- Photos and videos of relevant interactions and information
- Reports to Human Resources
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Bills from mental health treatment from a licensed counselor or therapist
- Medical records showing a diagnosis of anxiety, depression, or other behavioral and psychological problems
The dates of your diagnosis and treatment are relevant to your workers’ compensation case in terms of showing that the issue arose due to work. If you’d already been receiving treatment for a pre-existing condition, this may or may not impact your workers’ comp claim depending on the circumstances.
Rely on an Experienced Mississippi Attorney
If you suspect you may have a mental injury that would qualify for workers’ compensation, it’s important to understand your rights. An experienced Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyer can shed light on your situation and help you explore your options.
The workers’ compensation process is usually long and often frustrating. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Mississippi, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC.