Can You Get Workers' Comp for Depression in North Carolina?
Depression can be difficult to deal with and it can get worse if you are dealing with it at work. If you get depression because of a work injury, you might get it covered by workers' comp benefits even after you recover from your physical injury. You will have to come prepared with documentation to prove that the depression you are feeling was caused directly by the injury you received on the property. While it can be tricky, it is possible.
Below, we take a look at why and how workers' compensation benefits will cover your depression.
Physical Injuries Can Cause Depression in People
While some workers who get depression while on the job were told to "cheer up" or were even left to fend for themselves, it's not showing to be the state of today's medical society or psychology. For this reason alone, depression from a work-related injury should be treated as seriously as nerve damage you receive or a broken bone.
It's gotten to a point where the law has evolved to take depression seriously as attitudes toward it have changed. It's changed for the better so that people with depression caused by an injury sustained at work can get workers' comp benefits for the injury even after it has healed completely. For example, certain police officers have successfully covered their anxiety and depression after backlash from the community because of their actions.
Depression is known to follow certain physical injuries and chronic depression can follow the injury well after it's completely healed. Because of this, you can get workers' compensation after the injury is healed if you can prove that the depression is coming as a direct result of the injury that was covered by the benefits.
Medical and Legal Causes
For depression that isn't directly caused by a physical injury sustained at work, you will need to work a bit harder to gather the evidence to prove that it's work-related. For this proof, you will need two things for workers’ compensation officials:
1. Medical causation, which means a doctor or psychiatrist's official evaluation that the depression was caused or aggravated by work stressors.
2. Legal causation, which is the burden of proof for the state that shows an incident at work legally caused the depression to begin.
In North Carolina, this means you must be able to point out the exact event at work that caused the depression to start. For example, if you develop depression and panic attacks after a fall from a faulty safety harness, you would be eligible for workers' compensation even if your injuries from that fall were slight. You could also get workers' compensation from depression or PTSD after seeing a co-worker die before your eyes on the job.
It is very important to be as specific as possible about the cause of your depression when filing for workers' compensation benefits in North Carolina. If you aren’t specific during the claims process or your depression isn't caused by work-related injuries, your claim will be denied.
For help filing your claim, contact a Greenville workers’ compensation attorney at Ricci law Firm, P.A. Your first consultation is free! We can be reached at (252) 285-4081, or by filling out an online case evaluation form here.