Does Florida Worker’s Compensation Cover Mental Illnesses?
There are a number of occupations that lead to stressful, difficult, and sometimes unmanageable working conditions. All too often, an employee develops a mental illness in response to workplace conditions but fails to seek the help that he or she needs due to fear of revealing the condition, or fear that the condition will not be covered through the Florida system of workers’ compensation. This is simply not true.
Mental illnesses are covered through workers’ compensation, but it can be very difficult to establish that your condition developed as a result of your job. There are two situations in which you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for a mental health condition: (1) when the mental health condition is related solely to your job; and (2) when the mental health condition is related to your work-related injury or another person’s work-related injury. To fall under the first scenario, the employee must typically show that the mental health illness developed in response to abnormal working conditions. In this instance, however, you would be unlikely to receive a permanent disability benefits award, since your mental health condition would likely resolve or improve after you ceased working in the abnormal environment.
Turning to the second instance, there are many work-related injuries that may cause a victim to experience depression, anxiety, and other symptoms of mental illness. Depending on the severity of the injury, realizing that one may not be able to engage in the same full-range of physical activities either for a period of time or indefinitely can be devastating.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a common mental health condition for employees who suffer particularly violent, painful, and debilitating injuries. This condition may make it difficult for the employee to return to his or her same job duties, due to the likelihood that the accident could happen again. Common sufferers of PTSD include firefighters, police officers, and EMTs, who respond to violent, dangerous, and gruesome situations on a daily basis. If your mental condition prevents you from returning to work, you may also be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
Additionally, there are some physical ailments that may be caused due to work-related mental health conditions. For example, if you are under such severe stress at work that you have a heart attack, your stress and anxiety symptoms may be categorized as a work-related mental health condition. It may be the case that your physician orders you to stop working until your heart condition improves, or advisees you to seek a type of employment that does not cause you to suffer such severe mental stress and anxiety.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health condition as a result of an abnormal work environment, or has suffered a work-related injury and is experiencing associated mental health issues, The Hoffman Firm can help. We have handled a wide variety of worker’s compensation cases for numerous Florida residents. Our team of legal professionals knows firsthand just how devastating a work-related injury can be for the victim and his or her family, and just how confusing the worker’s compensation system can be. We offer a free confidential consultation, so you have nothing to lose. Call us now at (800) 223-1866 or contact us online to set up an appointment now.
Evan A. Hoffman
Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.Read More