Workers’ Compensation for Depression and Anxiety from a Workplace Injury
A workers’ compensation injury can have a devastating impact on your quality of life.
Many injuries cause pain and other symptoms, such as numbness and tingling. Having to deal with constant pain can make you feel depressed.
Pain may also prevent you from getting a full night’s sleep. Because you’re not getting refreshing sleep, you may feel tired during the day. Lack of sleep and constant fatigue can make you feel depressed.
Work injuries and resulting pain may prevent you from returning to the type of work you loved doing. Not being able to go to work each day and to provide for your family through work can cause depression.
Work injuries can also prevent you from enjoying activities of daily living with your friends and family. Maybe you enjoyed going to the gym, hiking, or shooting hoops. But now you can’t because of your work injury. This can lead to depression.
The combination of pain, lack of sleep, changes in what you can do physically, and the financial stress you may experience while going through the workers’ compensation claims process is why serious work injuries often cause depression and anxiety.
This article explains how Virginia workers’ compensation law addresses depression and anxiety caused by work injuries and how it may affect your workers’ compensation claim. If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety following a workplace accident, talk to a doctor immediately to get medical advice. Then call workers’ comp lawyer Corey Pollard for help getting the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve for depression and anxiety caused by a workplace injury.
Signs of Depression after a Work Injury
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below, you may be experiencing depression because of your work injury and the pain and limitations its causing:
- Decreased energy
- Excessive sleeping during the daytime
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
- Feelings of sadness or emptiness
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty remembering things
- Overeating due to stress
- Weight loss due to having no appetite
- Crying spells
- Thoughts of harming yourself
Seek medical attention right away if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms. You may be entitled to workers’ comp for depression from your work injury.
How Do I Get the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company to Pay for Treatment of Depression after a Work Injury?
The Workers’ Compensation Commission rarely awards claims seeking benefits for depression or anxiety without an accompanying physical injury. If you’re seeking workers’ comp for depression based on a stressful work environment, you will likely lose your case.
The first step in determining whether you’re entitled to workers’ compensation for depression is, therefore, to determine whether you suffered a physical injury by accident arising out of and in the course of your employment. If you suffered a work injury, then it is easier to prove that you’re entitled to workers’ compensation for depression or anxiety caused by your work injury.
If you’re feeling depressed after your work injury, tell your authorized treating physician. Your treating physician may prescribe medication to help you with depression or anxiety or refer you to a health care provider who focuses on mental health treatment. Such providers include psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health counselors. In fact, we’ve seen some orthopedic practices hire mental health professionals to help patients who are feeling depressed due to pain caused by their injuries.
If your treating physician says that you need to see a mental health provider, but does not provide a direct referral, ask the insurance company to provide a panel of mental health specialists to choose from. This is an important step in trying to get your mental health treatment authorized. Keep documentation of your efforts to get the referral approved. If you have an attorney, he or she will take care of this.
Once you’re diagnosed with depression or anxiety due to your work injury, your attorney should file a change in condition claim seeking lifetime medical benefits for depression and anxiety. The insurance company will either accept your claim and provide a workers’ comp award agreement form, or it will deny the claim, at which time the Commission will refer your change in condition claim to the hearing docket if you’ve provided supporting medical documentation.
In Virginia, the employer and its workers’ compensation insurance company may have to pay for treatment of your depression or anxiety if you prove that the depression or anxiety is caused by your work injury. This is proven through your testimony at the workers’ compensation hearing and through the opinions of your medical providers.
What if I Received Treatment for Depression or Anxiety Before the Work Injury?
Even if you have received prior treatment for depression or anxiety, workers’ compensation may still cover medical treatment for your mental health conditions if the work injury exacerbated or worsened them.
So long as your testimony and the medical evidence supports a finding that the physical injury aggravate or worsened your pre-existing depression, you can receive workers’ comp for a worsening of your mental health.
What if I’m Unable to Go Back to Work Because of Depression After a Work Injury?
Sometimes depression following a work injury is so severe that it prevents the injured employee from working. The employee may have difficulty getting out of bed in the mornings. Or anxiety from the work injury may make it difficult to return to the pre-injury work environment.
If you prove that depression or anxiety is a compensable consequence of your physical work injury, then work restrictions related to the depression and anxiety are given just as much weight as work restrictions from the physical injury. Your employer and its insurance carrier must take into account work restrictions due to your depression or anxiety if they try to find you a job through vocational rehabilitation.
Your Workers’ Comp Attorney for Depression and Workers’ Compensation
It’s normal to feel depressed after a work injury. Workers’ compensation litigation is stressful. And not only do you have to deal with the stress of litigation, you also have to deal with the physical pain of your work injury.
If your injury at work caused your depression or made your pre-existing depression or anxiety worse, then the workers’ compensation insurance company should have to pay for treatment. But it probably won’t do so voluntarily. That’s when attorney Corey Pollard can help.
Even if the insurer is paying for your treatment for depression, you may have workers’ compensation questions or want to negotiate a workers’ comp settlement so that you can move forward with your life. You can get the answers and advice you need by contacting Corey Pollard for a free consultation regarding Virginia workers’ compensation law.
Call, text, or email us today to schedule your free strategy session. We help injured workers across Virginia, including those in Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach. And we’re ready to help you and your family.