Although workers’ compensation is intended to provide comprehensive protection to injured workers, it sometimes does not do a very good job of helping those who suffer psychiatric injuries in the workplace. Although psychiatric injuries can be every bit as debilitating as physical injuries, it can be very difficult to obtain workers’ compensation benefits based on mental harm. Compensation for psychiatric injuries is also limited to specific types of cases.

If you or a loved one has suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of something that happened at work, it is very important that you contact an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you can. At Parsons Law Group, our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers have experience with tough cases, and our legal knowledge can help to give you the best chance of getting the benefits you need and deserve.

Types of Workplace Psychiatric Injuries

A person can suffer mental harm as a result of work for a number of different reasons and can experience many different symptoms of mental harm.

For example, some types of psychiatric injuries include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder — PTSD occurs when a traumatic event happens and the brain is not able to move past it. Symptoms vary but can include flashbacks, bad dreams, feeling tense or anxious, losing interest in activities, and a host of other problems.
  • Insomnia — Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, resulting in a lack of rest and impaired functioning during waking hours.
  • Anxiety — Anxiety is a feeling of extreme nervousness, tension, or apprehension. Patients with anxiety disorders may experience panic attacks, physical symptoms, crippling dread, and fatigue.
  • Depression — Depression is a debilitating condition that includes feelings of great sadness, hopelessness, dejection, and despondency. Patients often lack the motivation, energy, and concentration necessary to work and perform the daily tasks of living.
  • Phobias – Phobias are strong, intense fears that are irrational or disproportionate to the actual threat and can be disruptive.
    These and other psychiatric injuries can have many different causes. Whenever something at work causes these or other psychological issues to develop, the impact on your life can be severe, and you may need medical treatment and be unable to work.

Does Worker’s Compensation Cover Mental Harm?

Although a workplace psychiatric injury could make doing your job impossible and result in costly medical bills, there is no guarantee that workers’ compensation will cover your costs and pay disability benefits.

Under Georgia law, there is a longstanding rule that claimants cannot recover compensation for mental/psychiatric injuries alone. In other words, if the only harm that you suffer is mental harm, then you are generally not entitled to benefits.

To determine when or if workers’ compensation benefits will cover a psychological injury, Georgia rules have classified mental psychiatric harm into three different categories.

These include:

  • Physical-mental. Physical-mental refers to situations where someone suffers physical harm that causes a psychological problem. For example, if you got badly hurt in an accident on the job and suffer PTSD as a result, then this could be classified in the physical-mental category. If you were hurt on the job and become severely depressed because you are not getting better, this could also be considered a physical-mental injury.
  • Mental-physical. This refers to a situation where someone suffers mental harm that results in physical harm. For example, if you develop severe anxiety as a result of witnessing an accident at work, and this anxiety begins to make you physically ill, this could be classified in the mental-physical category.
  • Mental-mental. This refers to a situation where someone experiences mental/psychiatric harm that is the result of a mental stimulus rather than a physical one. For example, if you were harassed or bullied at work, you might develop anxiety. This could be classified as a mental-mental impairment.

Under Georgia law, you have the best chance of being able to recover workers’ compensation benefits based on psychiatric problems if you suffered a physical-mental injury. You generally cannot recover for mental-physical injuries, and it is impossible under the current law to recover benefits for mental-mental injuries.

Get Help From Our Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today

If you believe that you have a psychiatric injury that could be covered under Georgia workers’ compensation laws, you need help from an experienced Atlanta workplace injury lawyer.

At Parsons & Associates, P.C., we aren’t afraid to take on the tough cases. To learn more about how we can assist you with your workers’ compensation claim, call us today at (770) 766-0135, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.