Can You Get Additional Compensation If a Work Injury Causes Depression?
You’re still out on workers’ comp for your torn meniscus, but you’re finally able to walk around again. You’re in tons of pain and will be taking medication for months—the whole situation just feels endless. Your wife took you Lewis Morris Park for the day, convinced you just needed to get out of the house...but you know it’s more than that. Will this horrible feeling finally go away after your injury heals, or will you be unhappy for the rest of your life?
People on Workers’ Comp May Suffer Emotional Trauma After a Physical Injury
You are probably not alone in feeling this way. According to recent studies, workers who experience on-the-job injuries are more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders, giving them an additional hurdle to overcome during rehabilitation and making it less likely they we be able to fully return to work.
Researchers recently examined patients in rehabilitation who have been out of work for four months or more to see if they had suffered psychological symptoms. They found some troubling results, including:
- While 16 percent of the general population experience mental disorders, 64 percent of patients surveyed were experiencing a serious psychological issue or had experienced one in the last month.
- Around 56 percent of patients who did not suffer from chronic pain reported suffering from psychological diagnosis.
- When researchers included patients suffering from “pain disorders” in their mental health analysis, the post-accident rate psychological conditions increased from 56 percent to 99 percent.
What does this mean for injured workers? The results indicate that chronic pain places an enormous burden on the patient—both physically and mentally. Patients may cope with stress by relying too heavily on painkilling medications, while others are likely to spiral into depression.
Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to get workers’ compensation for a physical injury than a psychological one. In order to get additional workers’ compensation benefits, you will have to prove that you are suffering from depression or medication dependence—and in many cases, your employer may be unwilling to extend your time off work.
Do you need help paying your medical bills after an injury at work? Click the contact link on this page to find out your legal options, or get more information in our FREE book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers’ Comp Guide.