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Is work-related mental illness covered by workers' compensation?

Many Missouri workers suffer physical injuries while they are on duty, and it is the responsibility of employers to ensure no known safety hazards are present. Although not as common as physical injuries, a worker can suffer a work-related mental illness that may have severe financial consequences. Fortunately, psychological or mental illness is covered to some degree by workers' compensation as an occupational illness.

Mental illness in workers is categorized according to its cause and consequence. When, for instance, a worker develops Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after being involved in a severe accident at work, the condition is categorized as a physical/mental illness. Workers who are psychologically affected by an unexpected loud noise, such as an explosion or a sudden flash while they are working, may suffer shock that may lead to cardiac arrest or paralysis. These conditions are known as mental/physical.

The third category is purely stress-related and often occurs when a worker witnesses a horrifying accident at the workplace. The worker then develops a psychological condition that causes extreme fear of the circumstances that caused the accident, or for operating the equipment that caused severe injury to a co-worker. This falls under the category of mental/mental.

Missouri employers must keep in mind that a great deal of stress can result from physical injuries to workers. The stress is not only related to pain, discomfort and absence from work, but also the financial and personal implications. When these conditions lead to a work-related mental illness, it can also be detrimental to the worker's family. Pursuing workers' compensation benefits for mental illness may be complicated, and the guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney may be invaluable.

Source: hr.blr.com, "Psyched out --Preventing psychiatric injuries at work", Jasmin Rojas, Accessed on May 8, 2015

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