Our attorneys have extensive experience representing injured workers who suffer from depression.
It's important to realize depression commonly develops after a physical injury on the job.
There are two major kinds of depression claims in workers' compensation: (1) where depression arises from a physical work injury or (2) where a mental injury stands alone, without any sort of physical injury.
Let's take a look at both types:
Depression arising from a physical work injury:
If you've experienced a work injury which resulted in a loss of employment, isolation, chronic pain, or financial difficulties, it would not be unusual to develop depression. Many times the depression is not immediately recognized or diagnosed.
If you've been injured and are feeling depressed, anxious, or irritable, please discuss this with a physician. Your best resource may be a family doctor. Depression can have a significant impact on the outcome of your workers' compensation claim.
If your depression is permanent, it can significantly interfere with your ability to return to any sort of gainful employment. Do not hesitate to consult a doctor about your depression.
Depression which is permanent is compensated on the basis of industrial disability. If the original work injury is a scheduled claim (see language under Arm and Hand or Knees and Feet) and the injured worker develops chronic depression, the claim is likely to be compensated on the basis of industrial disability. (For a better understanding of industrial disability, please see "Neck and Back, Shoulder or Hip.)
Depression based solely on a mental injury:
This type of claim, often referred to as a "mental/mental" injury, presents unique issues. Our courts have established different rules which apply to these kinds of workers' compensation claims.
This kind of work injury most commonly develops from an acute event--a bank teller or convenience store clerk who experiences a robbery.
This kind of mental injury requires both medical causation--where a doctor establishes a relationship between the depression and work events--and legal causation, where the issue of unusual stress is a component.
Issues surrounding depression can become extremely important factors in the outcome of a workers' compensation claim. Aside from the physician's role, an experienced attorney can make sure you receive adequate medical coverage and an appropriate outcome.
The attorneys at Wertz & Dake have extensive experience with mental health claims. We provide exceptional advice and representation for all injured workers who suffer from depression.
Contact Wertz & Dake today for a free case evaluation at 319-861-3001.