Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC
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Worker's comp and mental illness considerations

Countless people across the state of Illinois and beyond make a living every day performing high-stress jobs under dangerous conditions. In fact, there are even a number of office positions and non-physically demanding jobs that still place a great deal of stress and anxiety on employees. It is not surprising, then, that many people develop work-related stress disorders and other forms of mental illness.

Even though mental health issues like depression and other disorders are legitimate injuries in many cases, worker’s compensation claims revolving around mental illness can be complex and difficult to prove. Worker’ explains that mental injury claims are often not taken as seriously as physical injuries because they are not visibly obvious. Employers are often skeptical of the validity of worker’s comp claims based on mental illness, and may assume that the employee in question is attempting to defraud the claims system. Even so, it is not up to employers to decide the validity of mental illness worker’s comp claims.

According to the American Bar Association, several factors can be taken into consideration when determining the validity of a mental injury claim. For claims involving stress disorders, for instance, it may be necessary to illustrate that the claimant’s stress disorder is chiefly work-related. It should also be apparent that the claimant’s job position caused unusual amounts of stress, and that the stress has resulted in some level of permanent disability. If such factors are proven to be valid, then the claimant may be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits for his or her mental illness.

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