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Do emotional injuries count in workers’ compensation claims?

NewsPersonal Injury   December 15, 2015

One of the most common questions I am asked about Ohio Worker’s Compensation Claims, is whether or not a person filing an Ohio workers’ compensation claim can include a claim of emotional distress such as anxiety, depression or PTSD? The facts of every case are different but as a general rule of thumb, it will count toward damages only if the emotional condition can be shown to be a direct cause of a physical injury or occupational disease sustained on the job.

For example, if an Ohio employer’s verbal abuse contributes to an employee’s nightly panic attacks, the employee cannot receive compensation through workers’ compensation for those panic attacks. However, if that same employer somehow broke an employee’s hand and that employee suffered anxiety because she wouldn’t be able to type, and therefore wouldn’t be able to work, then she may be able to receive compensation for the condition of anxiety, insofar as it is linked to her broken hand. The one exception to this rule is if psychological symptoms arise in an employee who has been forced to participate in sexual activity.

Ohio law also allows workers’ compensation claims in cases where an emotionally stressful situation causes a physical condition. Workers may not, however, receive workers’ compensation for self-inflicted injuries, or injuries that are linked to drug or alcohol use.

With some exceptions, Ohio law clearly values the physical well-being of employees over their mental well-being when making determinations for workers compensation claims. Very specific requirements must be met for employees to claim emotional distress as a component of a claim.

An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help injured workers to navigate their claims, clarify which aspects of their injuries may and may not be compensable, and provide valuable guidance through the workers’ compensation process. If you have been injured on the job and have questions about emotional damages or any questions relating to a workers’ compensation claim, it would be my honor to speak with you.

Howard Skolnick
Attorney at Law

For over two decades, I have zealously represented seriously injured clients in both the Ohio State and Federal Courts, litigating cases involving a variety of causes of action, such as workers’ compensation claims, wrongful death, birth/brain injuries, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, product liability, motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, bad-faith litigation against insurance companies, animal and dog bites, boating and water accidents and pedestrian accidents. I truly care and I am passionate about my clients. If you need help, it would be my honor to help you or a loved one rebuild your life and seek justice.