The Supreme Court of Ohio formally acknowledged that “participating in the workforce in, and of itself, is a stressful activity” in 1986. National follow-up studies have confirmed that workplace stress carries across many industries and types of occupations. These types of job-related stresses can lead to multiple types of mental illnesses or can exacerbate existing ones.
That said, the presence of mental illnesses in a worker, such as anxiety and depression, caused directly by a job can be difficult to prove. That said, Court of Ohio has narrowed down what circumstances a worker can receive workers’ compensation for in regards to anxiety, depression or other psychological disorders.
Your Anxiety or Depression Must Be a Direct Result of a Workplace Injury
Unfortunately, the causes of mental illnesses are not clear-cut. As a result, most states do not provide workers’ compensation to assist workers with these psychological disorders. However, Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) does, but only under certain circumstances.
In order to receive workers’ compensation for anxiety or depression in Ohio, your psychological disorder must come as a direct result of your workplace injury. For example, if you are a nurse who has grown depressed and anxious due to the trauma you experience day in and day out of the ER, you do not qualify for workers’ compensation. However, if you are a nurse who was attacked and injured by a patient, any anxiety and depression you experience as a result of that injury will likely be covered by workers’ compensation.
Under Ohio law, the worker who sustained the injury has the burden of proof, which means the worker will likely require a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether the condition is a “flow-through” condition. This means the anxiety or depression was caused by or flowed from the workplace injury.
Given that mental illness is being recognized as a serious issue, we can only hope that at some point workers will be compensated for mental illnesses that stem from the workplace, not just from workplace injuries.
Larrimer & Larrimer is an Ohio workers’ compensation law firm that fights for victims who have sustained workplace injuries in the Lima, Zanesville, Newark, Columbus areas.