Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Psychological Injuries?

Categories: employment law

Man Consoling a Woman

In a personal injury case, an individual who has been injured due to someone else’s negligence can seek financial compensation for all of his or her physical and psychological injuries. Being involved in a traumatic accident can often have lasting psychological effects; and, generally speaking, the law holds negligent parties accountable for all of the harm that they cause.

As a result, if you suffer depression or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a drunk driving accident, for example, you can seek to hold the drunk driver responsible for the economic and noneconomic costs of your psychological harm. This is in addition, of course, to seeking compensation for your physical injuries, lost wages, and other losses.

But, workers’ compensation claims are different. Wisconsin has a “no-fault” system, which means that employers are liable for qualifying employees’ work-related injuries regardless of the underlying cause. However, since employers are required to pay for the vast majority of their employees’ work-related injuries even when they are not to blame, the law limits the benefits that are available through workers’ compensation.

So, it is natural to ask: Do Wisconsin workers’ compensation benefits cover psychological injuries?

Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Covers Psychological Injuries

In this case, the answer is good news: In Wisconsin, workers’ compensation covers psychological injuries that arise both (i) in connection with physical injuries, and (ii) independently of any physical harm. As a result, qualifying employees in Wisconsin are eligible to claim benefits for conditions such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

As with physical injuries, when seeking treatment for a work-related psychological injury, you have the right to choose your own psychologist. Under Wisconsin law, employers do not have the right to limit employees’ choices for medical treatment (though they do have the right to require employees to submit to medical examinations for purposes of assessing their claims for benefits).

To Be Covered, Psychological Injuries Must Be Work-Related

Also similar to physical injuries, in order to entitle you to benefits, your psychological injury must arise out of your employment. This could mean the stress you experience from your job responsibilities (though the law requires proof of more than the day-to-day stress experienced by the average worker), or it could mean emotional trauma resulting from an accident. For example, employees can often claim benefits for psychological injuries resulting from:

  • Auto accidents
  • Equipment and machinery accidents
  • Slips and falls
  • Workplace violence
  • Other work-related incidents

Unfortunately, employers and their insurers are often quick to dispute employees’ psychological injury claims, and this can make securing benefits for a psychological injury extremely challenging. To protect your rights, the best thing you can do is speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: This Article Is Not Legal Advice.

Never rely on an article for legal advice as the law frequently changes, information may not be accurate, there may be exceptions to a rule, and reliance may be detrimental. Always consult one of our experienced attorneys for competent, current, and accurate legal advice.

Discuss Your Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Claim with an Experienced Attorney at Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C.

To learn more about your rights after suffering a work-related psychological injury and to get the help you need to secure maximum benefits, please contact us for a confidential consultation. Call (715) 842-2291 or send us a message online to schedule an appointment at our Wausau, WI law offices today.