INVISIBLE INJURIES: Mental Health Claims in Workers’ Compensation

The phrase “Workers’ Compensation injury” traditionally invokes images of sprained backs and carpel tunnel injuries.  While physical injuries such as these may be some of the most commonly occurring types of injuries sustained by workers, they are not the only type of injury that may be covered by a Workers’ Compensation claim. 

In Connecticut, psychiatric or mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may also be compensable if they originate from a physical injury sustained at work.  In most circumstances, current law requires the existence of a physical injury which results a subsequent mental health issue.  There is currently an exception to this law for police officers who are “subjected to serious physical injury or death through the use of deadly force”.  Under such circumstances, a police officer would not need to sustain a physical injury to bring a claim for resulting mental health issues. 

While such mental health claims are often overlooked or unaddressed, they are no less serious or deserving of attention than traditional physical injuries.  Many workers feel they will be stigmatized by the need to address mental health issues.  This certainly should not be the case.  Work injuries, especially those that take the injured individual out of work for an extended period, are stressful.  It is easy and common for the uncertainty and stress of physical injuries and money concerns in a Workers’ Compensation claim to manifest in the form of depression and anxiety. 

If you feel as though you are experiencing mental health issues related to a work injury, please take comfort in knowing that you can get medical care through your Workers’ Compensation claim to address your mental health needs.  Please do not hesitate to discuss your work related mental health issues with your Workers’ Compensation attorney.  By doing so, you will be helping yourself to a more complete medical recovery.

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