Psychological and Stress-Related Injuries in Workers’ Compensation

Most people know that workers’ compensation covers physical injuries. But they don’t always know that claims can include psychological conditions. For example, a nurse who was assaulted and threatened by a distressed patient may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in addition to the physical injuries sustained from the assault.

Maryland law classifies mental/psychological claims into three categories which are explained below with examples:

  • Physical-mental claims. Work-related physical injury causes a psychological condition.
    • Correctional officer exposed to blood during an altercation with an HIV positive inmate develops anxiety out of fear of contracting HIV
    • Construction worker suffers from depression as a result of a debilitating back injury requiring multiple surgeries
  • Mental-physical claims. Mental/emotional injury causes a physical injury.
    • Convenience store cashier endures a heart attack after being robbed at gunpoint
  • Mental-mental claims. Mental stressor causes a psychological condition
    • EMT develops PTSD after witnessing extraordinarily graphic accident
    • Teacher witnesses school shooting

Psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression can all have a severe impact on your health and ability to work. Some common psychological symptoms are flashbacks, nightmares, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilance, social isolation, emotional detachment, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, rapid heart rate, chest pain, and fear.

Insurance companies tend to scrutinize psychological claims more closely, so it is important to have the evidence needed to prove your case. In order to establish a claim for a psychological condition, an injured worker must provide documentation from a medical provider that diagnoses the condition and relates it to the work incident or exposure.

Contact a Knowledgeable Maryland Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you are suffering from a psychological condition as a result or a work injury or exposure, you may be entitled to medical benefits and compensation. The Law Office of Sara El-Shall represents clients for Workers’ Compensation matters throughout Baltimore, as well as in Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Frederick, Prince George's counties, and southern Maryland. Please call (410) 656-2909 for a free consultation.