Mental Health Exposure And Workers’ Compensation

By Rebecca Batisto

Mental Health Exposure And Workers’ Compensation

Depression, anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder can occur as a result of a workplace injury or event. These mental health issues can result in increased workers’ compensation claims as well as an employee’s time away from their job. Medical professionals are beginning to take note of the mental and emotional impact of injuries, and employers need to understand how this aspect could impact their workforce.

Depression During Treatment

More than half of injured workers experience depression to some degree during their recovery. Some may have poor coping skills, become discouraged about their injury, or worry they will not be able to recover fully. As a consequence, recovery can be elongated, or long-term emotional issues could develop. Further, the affected worker may not be immediately aware of subtle cues that could worsen, resulting in more significant psychological challenges in the future.

Workplace Violence

Unfortunately, workplace violence is increasing each year, and more employees are reporting they don’t feel safe at work. With violence comes physical injuries and mental trauma directly related to the onsite event resulting in workers’ compensation claims, which hold the company responsible for the work environment. Employers are encouraged to become more proactive not only in prevention but also in educating employees as to what to do in case of workplace violence.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

While widely associated with our troops, PTSD can occur as a result of someone undergoing or observing a traumatic event, such as workplace violence. First responders and medical professionals are also at risk for developing PTSD because of the type of work they perform. Experiencing PTSD can extend a worker’s recovery period as well as a result of increased workers’ compensation claims for the company when the incident occurred on the job. Again, for employers, education regarding the response to a potentially traumatic event is critical.

The Burden Of Proof

States have varying thresholds for proving an employee’s mental illness is a result of a workplace event. In most states, the burden of proof lies with the worker and requires a psychological evaluation. As medical providers see more cases and employers see workers missing work or experiencing issues, it is expected that laws and coverages will evolve. In the meantime, work with your insurance provider to understand your company’s exposure and how you can minimize it.

Normandy Insurance can help you navigate the ever-changing environment of workers’ compensation coverage as it pertains to mental health and beyond. Contact us to do a review of your current policy and address any concerns you may have.

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