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Tampa Workers' Compensation Attorney / Blog / Workers Compensation / Work-Related Mental Health Issues

Work-Related Mental Health Issues


Frequently, science is ahead of the law. Work-related mental health issues in Florida are a good example. Considerable evidence proves that depression, anxiety, and other issues are physical brain injuries, just like a trauma-induced brain injury. Yet Florida law insists that such issues aren’t physical injuries. Therefore, job injury benefits are only available in limited situations, which are outlined below.

The good news is that the work-related requirement expands in this area. Usually, a Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer must only show a nexus (indirect relationship) between work and injury. Since these claims are so complex, victims without lawyers have almost no chance of obtaining benefits if they don’t have lawyers. These benefits usually include lost wage replacement and reasonable medical bill payment.

Mental Illness Causes Physical Injury

Most Americans have at least one symptom of work-related stress. A Spanish term for stress is preocupado. So, if John is preoccupied with work-related stress and anxiety, he cannot concentrate on the task at hand, such as driving a motor vehicle, operating heavy machinery, or even walking down a staircase.

Workers’ compensation benefits are available for such indirect injuries. Medical evidence is the key to a successful claim.

Under Florida law, mental health-related physical injuries are only compensable if they require medical treatment. Benefits aren’t available for high blood pressure, even if work-related anxiety caused such hypertension, unless the hypertension is so bad it requires medical treatment.

Furthermore, unless John produces objective and relevant medical evidence on this point, he’s not entitled to benefits for his emotional or mental injury.

In a nutshell, under Florida law, a work-related mental health issue is like a pre-existing condition. Assume John fell down the stairs partially because he was preoccupied with work issues and partially because he simply didn’t watch where he was going. A Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer must prove that the work-related anxiety was a substantial cause of  his fall, as opposed to a contributing cause.

Physical Injury Causes Mental Injury

These job injury claims are a little more common. Frequently, injury victims become depressed. They worry about their medical futures and they must place activities they like, such as going to the movies or working in their garages, on hold.

Once again, a physician must testify that the work-related injury, as opposed to something else, caused the victim’s mental stress.

Such medical evidence is harder to obtain in Florida. Usually, job injury victims must see company doctors who, rather predictably, testify that there’s no connection between a physical injury and a mental illness. However, nothing in Florida law prevents job injury victims from getting a second opinion.

First Responder PTSD

Emergency responder Post Traumatic Stress Disorder claims are in a class by themselves. Lawmakers recently extended PTSD benefits to firefighters, police officers, and other first responders with work-related PTSD.

Once again, the victim must prove that a work-related incident caused the PTSD. Sometimes, the cumulative effect of semi-stressful events causes this mental disorder, or an offshoot of it. Other times, one major event causes PTSD.

These injuries frequently involve collateral damage. Many PTSD patients self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to alleviate symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance.

 Count On a Tough-Minded Hillsborough County Attorney

Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.



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