Are Mental Illnesses Covered Under Workers’ Compensation Laws?
Mental Illness and Workers’ Comp
Workers’ compensation laws are in place to protect the employees of a workplace in the event that they are in an accident during work hours. Generally speaking, workers’ compensation covers all medical costs and lost wages. There are some costs, however, that individuals might wonder if they are included, such as a mental illness that arises as a result of a work experience.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Requirements
While workers’ compensation requirements vary from state to state, there are a few standards that apply to all states.
Requirements for workers’ compensation include:
- The injury must have taken place while performing a job-related task
- The injury must be severe enough to require medical care beyond first-aid
- The employee must receive a paycheck with taxes deducted
In addition to these requirements, the employee is required to notify their employer of their injury or the accident within 14 days. Failing to meet any of these requirements can deem you ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Mental Health Illnesses at Work
It is possible for a mental illness to arise out of work requirements or in a difficult work environment. For example, an employee who is met with a dangerous situation at work could suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Constant harassment or abuse at work could lead to depression or anxiety. Additionally, an injury that someone experiences at work could lead to significant life changes that result in depression.
Identifying the Cause of a Mental Illness
The difficulty with collecting workers’ compensation for a mental health claim is that it is not always simple to identify the cause of a mental health illness. While you can make an informed guess, this is still a guess. Additionally, if any personal situations contributed to the mental illness, then the workers’ compensation claim may be denied.
Workers’ compensation laws require the employee to hold the burden of proof. This means that it is the employees’ responsibility to demonstrate two things:
- That the employee was an approved employee covered under the workers’ compensation laws
- That the employee suffered the injury, without doubt, at work or while completing a work task
The state of New Jersey does allow mental illness to be covered under workers’ compensation laws as long as the employee is able to link the mental illness to their job.
The Importance of Working with an Experienced Legal Team
Because of the subjective nature of mental illness, it can make a workers’ compensation claim more complex. If you suffered significant stress or are now dealing with a mental illness as a result of your employment, then you may be eligible for compensation.
Working with an experienced team can help you collect the necessary documentation that you need to demonstrate the connection between the two. Also, working with a workers’ compensation lawyer can reduce your chances of receiving a denial. However, if you do receive a denial, this does not necessarily mean the decision is final. A lawyer can also help you submit an appeal by evaluating the cause of the denial.
Contact a Woodbridge Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey workers’ compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. represent clients in Edison, Woodbridge, Old Bridge, Piscataway, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Middletown, Howell, Lakewood, Toms River, Brick, Jackson, and all across New Jersey. Call 732-564-7165 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 1862 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ 08820 and we also have offices in Brick, Freehold, and Point Pleasant Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.