Most people associate the term “work-related injuries” with physical injuries such as broken bones or muscle strains. But, employees in Oklahoma can also suffer a wide range of work-related mental injuries and illnesses. If you have a work-related mental illness, it’s important to understand whether or not you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
How to Obtain Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Work-Related Mental Illnesses
The law states that a mental injury or illness is typically not covered by the workers’ compensation system. However, there is an exception to this rule. Mental illnesses that are caused by a work-related physical injury are covered by the workers’ compensation system.
For example, let’s say a news reporter suffers post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after covering a tragic local event. In this case, the reporter has only suffered a mental injury. There’s no doubt that the mental injury occurred as a result of his work, but it is still not covered by the workers’ compensation system because it did not occur as a result of a work-related physical injury.
But, let’s say the news reporter suffered a serious physical injury while covering the local tragedy. The physical injury affected his ability to work and engage in his favorite activities, which impacted his mental health. He was eventually diagnosed with depression. In this case, the depression may be covered by the workers’ compensation system since it was directly caused by the work-related physical injury.
The insurance company will deny your workers’ compensation claim unless they see proof that there is a link between your physical and mental injuries. You will need to work closely with your treating physician to clearly establish this link for the insurance company.
Your claim for benefits can also be denied if your diagnosis was not made by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. For this reason, it’s important to see one of these licensed healthcare providers if you believe you are suffering from a work-related mental illness.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Mental Illness
You are entitled to up to 26 weeks of workers’ compensation benefits if you successfully prove that your mental illness is work-related. However, the benefits may continue for an additional 26 weeks if you can prove with clear and convincing medical evidence that this extension is necessary.
Are you suffering from a work-related mental illness? If so, seek legal representation from the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our attorneys understand that mental injuries are just as serious as physical injuries, which is why we are committed to securing workers’ compensation benefits on your behalf. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.