As a general rule, if you are physically hurt in an accident, you may need to treat with ER doctors, orthopedists, pain management doctors, and other specialists. You may need to work with physical, vocational, and occupational therapists. But what if your injury led to mental trauma? Or what if the incident caused you no physical injury at all, but has affected your mental health?
You can file for workers’ compensation for mental or emotional harm that goes along with a physical injury. Employees can also file a claim for mental health injuries where there is no physical harm, but Mississippi has a few conditions for this.
- You must be able to show that workplace conditions caused your depression, anxiety, or other behavioral and psychological problems. Most insurance companies for the employer will try to argue that your mental health problems are due to family stresses and other conditions outside of the workplace.
- Generally, whether you have sustained physical injuries or not, you also need to show that an unusual workplace condition caused your mental health difficulties. A few examples include:
- Being physically attacked or assaulted at work
- Being threatened with physical violence while on the job
- Being shot, or being shot at, while on the job
- Being subjected to systemic harassment on the job
For many jobs, such as retail workers or professional services, the stress or mental health problems need to be unusual – something that doesn’t normally happen during a work shift such as those mentioned above.
First responders and mental health workers’ compensation claims
Police officers and firefighters have very difficult jobs where they have to respond to emergencies quickly. Police officers may have to shoot someone. They often see people at their worst. Firefighters often see people die from the flames or smoke – or they see people suffer serious burns. Both officers and firefighters may feel guilt that they didn’t do more, even when that guilt is irrational. Emergency responders also often have to work with people in pain, and often enter residences with people who are dying, or already dead. While it is a natural consequence of their job, mental health difficulties for jobs that are known to be highly stressful can often justify a workers’ compensation claim.
Steps to take if you’re suffering from depression, stress, or anxiety at work
Workers who begin to feel upset, anxious, or depressed should inform their supervisor so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. Often workers delay telling their manager because of fear that they’ll look weak, but waiting can often make your mental health issues worse. Speaking to psychologists and psychiatrists can often help employees return to work after some emotional trauma has occurred.
If mental health problems are untreated, they may lead to physical problems such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, and possibly suicide.
Don’t assume you don’t have the right to workers’ compensation benefits for mental health problems. Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers understand the many arguments than can justify a mental health claim. If you have any stress, depression, or you’re upset due to your work environment or some event at work triggered a decline in your mental health, call Merkel & Cocke, P.A. at 662-799-1633 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free appointment. We’ve been fighting for Mississippi employees since for more than 40 years. Our workers’ compensation lawyers represent workers in every industry sector and every profession across Mississippi, including in Tupelo and the Gulf Coast Region, and in Jackson, Clarksdale, and Oxford.