The impact of a workers’ compensation case can be significant and life changing for the injured workers and their loved ones. In addition to the physical injuries, the workers may develop ongoing emotional scars long after the workplace accident happened. Some workers may suffer from clinical depression as a result of the work-related accident. Generally, clinical depression may manifest itself as a group of symptoms that reflect a sad or irritable mood outside the normal notions of sadness or grief. In a workers’ compensation setting, the depressive disorder must follow an actual physical injury. By contrast, a worker cannot be awarded workers’ compensation benefits for being “stressed out at work” or “overwhelmed” by itself. This stress or extreme anxiety must be connected to an accident causing bodily harm first.
Another related disorder may be in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In sudden injurious workplace events, a worker may develop extreme anxiety as a result of the accident. This emotional illness generally causes workers to “re-experience” or “re-live” the occurrence of the work injury in some way. As a result, the employee suffers a tremendous amount of anxiety that disrupts the claimant’s every day functioning. These employees often become terribly frightened and experience an overwhelming feeling of being unsafe. They often tend to avoid places or people that may remind them of the work accident. For example, the employee may avoid driving if she has been in a serious work-related car accident. As another example, an employee may experience a great deal of anxiety with the thought of coming back to the workplace where a shooting occurred causing him injury.
The need for psychological or psychiatric counseling on account of a workers’ compensation injury is nothing to be ashamed of. Moreover, the need for counseling is on a case-by-case basis. Depression, anxiety, anger, and rage issues do not have any geographical boundaries. Injured workers from Thomasville to Social Circle to West Point to Lyons and Gainesville are susceptible to emotional trauma caused in the workplace.
In order to receive mental health counseling, the prescription generally comes from the authorized treating physician. If an employee is demonstrating depressive symptoms or mentally irregular ideations, then the treating physician will likely refer the injured worker for counseling with a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist.
The Ramos Law Firm attorneys have handled the complex issues of psychiatric or psychological treatment and its impact on an injured worker’s ability to return to work. It is important to our lawyers to protect the dignity of these workers during these trying times.