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Will Workers Compensation Pay for Treatment of Depression and Anxiety?

by Steve Fields | June 20th, 2017

Sudden or unexpected life changes can oftentimes bring about a low mood or aggravate feelings of depression or anxiety. A workers compensation injury is a good example of such a life change. No one plans to have a work injury, and once it happens, the results can be devastating and may take a toll on every part of your life.

Aside from the physical injury, there may be emotional damages as well. If you develop depression or anxiety following a work injury, it is possible to have your employer’s workers compensation insurance pay for your treatment. However, these claims can be complicated.

First, your depression and/or anxiety cannot be the only injury you claim to be related to work. They have to be related to a physical injury and have resulted after suffering that injury. If your depression and anxiety develop after you have suffered an injury at work, then it may be considered as a claim; however, you still need your doctors to state that the condition is related to the work injury.

Your depression and anxiety cannot be related solely to the fact that you lost your job or that you cannot provide for your family. The depression and/or anxiety have to relate to the physical work injury itself.

Client Success Story

A man slipped on oil at his workplace and suffered a serious injury to his back, which required a lumbar fusion. His workers compensation insurer paid for his medical treatment for a number of years, but when he developed chronic pain and depression as a result of this injury, the insurer ceased paying for his medical care. We were able to obtain opinions from his doctors, which clarified the causal connection between his work injury and his development of chronic pain and depression. Ultimately, we were able to secure a settlement of $113,000 for our client.

Another complicating factor can exist if you have suffered from depression or anxiety at any time in the past. The depression and/or anxiety you are suffering from following a work injury can be denied if you had depression and/or anxiety in the past, as this could be considered a “pre-existing condition”, or a condition that existed prior to your work injury.

The reason for the insurance company’s denial when you’ve had a pre-existing condition is usually justified by their reasoning that if this condition was pre-existing, then it was not related to your work injury, so they should not have to pay. If you have questions on how a pre-existing condition could affect your claim, the best person to consult with is a workers compensation attorney.

Regardless of whether you have had depression and/or anxiety previously, the burden is on the employee to prove that the condition is work-related. Your doctors will have to support that the condition is work-related, and even then, you may have to proceed to a hearing in order to get worker’s compensation to accept liability for this condition. Another alternative is to settle this portion of your claim.

For advice on how best to proceed in your individual case, please contact our Minnesota Workers Compensation attorneys today. We will take the time to understand your situation and help you determine your legal options.