Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation and Mental Health-Related Claims
Some Massachusetts workers such as police officers, firefighters and paramedics work in inherently dangerous situations on a daily basis. The majority of workers, however, expect to go to work each day, do their job, and come back home without experiencing anything that could cause long-term psychological scars. Sometimes though, unexpected events in the workplace do cause psychological issues for a worker. When this occurs, Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits may be available.
Imagine, for example, that you are employed as a cashier at a small mom-and-pop grocery store. You have worked there for more than 10 years without anything unusual happening when one day the store is robbed. In the course of the robbery, you are held at gunpoint. Not surprisingly, you begin to have nightmares, suffer from flashbacks and are unable to concentrate at work, or your loved ones notice a serious change in your personality. You could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result, you could be entitled to benefits under the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system.
Proving the Link between Work and Disability
In Massachusetts, a worker is potentially eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for mental or emotional disabilities, such as PTSD, if you can prove that a workplace incident or situation was a contributing factor in your mental or emotional disability. A physical injury suffered in the workplace can also sometimes be the cause of a secondary emotional or mental disability. For example, if you were seriously injured in a workplace accident you may now be suffering from the emotional trauma that frequently follows a physical injury. Your emotional disability may also be compensable through the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. Along with wage replacement benefits, you may be entitled to therapy for your disability and vocational rehabilitation if warranted.
Proving the nexus between your disability and your workplace can be difficult. In the above example of the grocery store robbery, the correlation between the event and the emotional injuries may be evident; however, many emotional or mental disabilities are caused by workplace incidents or situations that are not as obvious. For this reason, many claims submitted to the workers’ compensation system based on mental or emotional disabilities are initially denied. Consulting with an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney can greatly increase the chance that your initial claim for an emotional or mental disability will be approved.
A Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
If you have already filed a workers’ compensation claim, and it was denied, all is not lost. You have the right to appeal the denial; however, your chances of approval diminish at each stage of the process, making it even more important that you consult with an experienced workplace injury attorney as soon as possible.