Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Depression?
Workplace injuries can cause more than just physical damage. Especially in cases involving permanent life-altering injuries, psychological torment can wreak havoc on a worker’s mental state. Yet, often psychological damage is overlooked when injured workers file for compensation.
How Common is Depression After a Workplace Injury?
A 2005 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigated around 368,000 workers and found that injured workers are 45 percent more likely to be treated for depression.
For a worker to be considered depressed, it was necessary to diagnose him or her within three months of the injury with a condition like episodic mood disorder, affective personality disorder, prolonged depressive reaction or adjustment disorder with depressed mood.
What Factors Contribute to Depression in Injured Workers?
Painful injuries can bring about their own levels of stress, especially when the injury requires extensive treatment and multiple medical visits. Permanent injuries, such as amputations, can leave injured workers with post-traumatic stress disorder, reducing their capacity to work and live life as they desire.
Additionally, the pursuit of workers’ compensation can add to stress buildup, especially when compensation cannot be acquired in time to pay for necessary medical bills. Anxiety and depression are the natural result of this physical and financial uncertainty.
The aforementioned CDC study found that outpatient depression treatment costs were 63 percent higher for injured workers than for non-injured workers. Often, these costs are not covered by workers’ compensation, leaving workers with few options. Continuing to ignore the mental health of injured workers will only cost companies more in the long run.
Visit our page on psychological damage from physical injuries to learn more.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC—Columbus Workers’ Comp Attorneys
Did You Know? In a study comparing depression treatment costs to lost productivity costs, 45 to 98 percent of treatment costs were offset by increased productivity, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.