Do mental-health issues qualify for workers’ compensation?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

It’s easy to see a physical injury that occurs in a Pennsylvania workplace. A doctor can X-ray a leg to determine if it was broken on the job or stitch up a significant wound. If those injuries are severe and will require an employee to miss time at work, the employee can file for workers’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation is designed to provide financial assistance to employees out of work because of injuries that occurred on the job. But what about payment for the injuries we can’t see – mental health conditions such as anxiety or stress? Workers’ compensation also can cover psychological issues.

Some people have very stressful jobs, just by the nature of their work. Post-traumatic stress disorder also can result from a situation that occurs on the job. Just as with physical disability claims, a worker will need to show that the issue emerged in the course of employment. Depression or even alcoholism could fall under conditions eligible for workers’ compensation if they resulted from the job, and pre-existing conditions can be covered if they got worse at work.

One note: The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act does not make eligible “persons whose employment is casual in character and not in the regular course of the business of the employer.” Therefore, if you are a non-eligible employee, you do not qualify for benefits.

Workers’ compensation law in Pennsylvania ― and in all states, for that matter ― is complex. Proving a mental-health impairment was caused by or worsened on the job can be difficult. A consultation with an attorney skilled in this phase of employment law could be beneficial to help you put your best case forward.