For many, depression is a touchy topic. While some believe you can just “get over it,” others firmly believe that is a medical condition that should enable them to a number of benefits. However, no matter what side you stand on, does depression make you eligible for worker’s compensation? If you, for example, become depressed working your desk job because you hate it, then unfortunately this does not qualify for worker’s compensation to help cover your treatment, although your health insurance may. However, if your depression is a result of your work-related injury, then you may actually get the help you need covered under the benefits of worker’s compensation insurance.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is actually a common symptom after a work-related injury, or any injury, for that matter. If you are feeling stressed from filing the claim, accompanied by constant pain, or feeling the new limitations that your injury has caused which may or may not be permanent, these can all manifest and exacerbate the feelings of depression.
Unfortunately, depression comes with many symptoms, and often these symptoms are overlooked before it is too late or attributed to something else. Some medications, many of which you may need to take for an injury, can also increase the symptoms of depression as a side effect. These symptoms include, most commonly, fatigue and decreased energy. However, those suffering from depression can also feel a persistent feeling of hopelessness, sadness, irritability, and may lose interest in normal activities. Due the occasional vague nature of these symptoms, this is what causes depression to be critically under diagnosed or misdiagnosed among many people.
If you or someone you know has started to manifest the symptoms of depression after a work injury, the first thing you need to do is to get them help, you can worry about the rest later. It can be difficult to acknowledge these feelings, but depression left untreated can lead to much worse things like pushing those important to you away, self harm, and, in the worse cases, suicide.
After treatment has been taken care of, many choose to just pay for it out of pocket or let their health insurance cover it. However, depression is compensable if it is indeed work-related. Minnesota courts have ruled that work injuries that “cause, aggravate, accelerate, or precipitate” mental illness such as depression do qualify the sufferer for compensation under the worker’s compensation program.
However, there still needs to be a physical injury present in order for depression or anxiety to be compensated. While the injury does not need to be the only cause of it, but it does need to be a substantial contributing factor for it. One common example is if your home life was somewhat taxing before the injury, and depression began to manifest after the injury, that would stand as a major contributing factor.
Unfortunately, many think depression is hard to prove, and thus, neglect to try to seek compensation for it so as to not be accused for trying to cheat the system. After an injury, a clear medical diagnosis, like the one that proved your injury was work-related, can also prove that your depression was caused by that same injury and thus deserves coverage.
If you or a loved one was injured at work and the resulting injury resulted in depression or aggravated another mental illness, contact us today. Worker’s compensation does cover metal illness and trauma that was created or aggravated by a work injury, and you are entitled to compensation to treat it. At the Law Office of Joshua Borken, we work tirelessly to represent injured workers in worker’s compensation claims that can easily be made more difficult when conditions like depression are brought into the mix.