Can You File a Claim for Depression Through Workers’ Compensation?

Workplace Injury | January 1, 2022

Depression is a debilitating illness that affects millions of people across the United States. Often, depression is caused by job-related activities. This can include depression accompanied by another workplace injury or depression caused by the overall work environment. However, will you be able to file a claim for depression through the Illinois workers’ compensation system? Here, our Chicago workers’ comp lawyers want to discuss whether or not this is possible and the obstacles individuals in these situations may face.

Depression & Workplace Injuries

Depression in the Workplace – When You May be Able to File a Claim

It is not uncommon for physical injuries that occur in the workplace to lead to significant emotional and psychological distress. We see this regularly with injuries that occur as a result of the negligence of somebody else. Injuries can lead to a significant loss of quality of life, and this can have a profound impact on an individual. A study published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine discovered that employees who sustain on-the-job injuries were 45% more likely to seek treatment for depression than others in the workplace.

In order for an individual to successfully file a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois for depression, the worker must show that the depression resulted mainly from the workplace injury. Therein lies the challenge – proving that the depression was caused by an on-the-job injury is tough. It is harder for insurance carriers and employers to “see” depression. Visible injuries are much easier to understand and secure compensation for, but depression is an “unseen” injury. This does not make the depression any less real than a physical injury, but it makes it harder to secure compensation.

Establishing the cause of the depression will typically be easier if the workplace injury has led to a permanent disability or changed the victim’s life in a major way.

When an employee can identify a specific traumatic workplace event that caused their depression, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits could include coverage of any medical care needed to treat the depression as well as a portion of lost wages for time away from work.

What About Depression Not Linked to a Traumatic Workplace Injury?

It will typically not be possible for an employee to recover compensation for depression if the depression is not linked to a traumatic workplace injury in Illinois. Please do not take this to mean that we think that the workplace environment cannot lead to depression. We are well aware that work environments can be stressful and affect an individual’s mental health.

According to one study, depression is commonly reported in first responders. In one case study of EMS personnel, depression was reported in 6.3% of those examined. This is just one example of an industry that leads to a high incidence of depression amongst workers, but there are many others. This includes firefighters, police officers, surgeons, doctors, nurses, construction workers, and more.

Contact a Skilled Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

If you are suffering from depression after sustaining a workplace injury, you may be entitled to compensation. We encourage you to reach out to a skilled workers’ compensation attorney in Illinois who can examine the facts of your case and help you move forward on the correct path to recovering the compensation you are entitled to.