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Is it possible to claim workers’ compensation for mental illness?

If you are one of the many North Carolina residents struggling with mental illness, you know that stressful work conditions may worsen your symptoms. In some cases, you may even know that work is the cause of your mental health challenges and wonder if there is a way to apply for benefits from your employer.

While it is possible to get workers’ compensation for mental illness, the process may be challenging.

Visible vs. invisible illness or injury

FindLaw states that the point of workers’ compensation is to provide for you when you cannot work due to an injury or illness sustained on the job. Most workers’ compensation claims relate to physical injuries from an accident at the workplace. However, some work environments may cause mental, emotional or psychological distress that leads to mental illness, which may be just as debilitating as a physical injury. In order to qualify for workers’ compensation for a mental health issue, you must be able to prove that your job or workplace somehow caused or worsened your condition, such as developing PTSD after a traumatic accident or experience at work.

Burden of proof

It is often straightforward to prove that a physical injury happened at work, but it may be more challenging to show that the emotional trauma or stress causing your mental illness happened on the job. However, if you are able to demonstrate that your employment contributed to your mental health problems, your mental illness may qualify as compensable under North Carolina Law.

For example, you may be able to prove a traumatic accident at your job led to post-traumatic stress disorder. Another possibility could relate to depression. A toxic work environment may cause depression. You may also struggle with depression after a work-related physical injury, which could allow you to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

As with any workers’ compensation claim of physical injury, you should collect proof that your mental health challenges stem from work. Although such a claim may need care in collecting evidence and be difficult to prove, it is possible to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits due to mental illness in some cases.

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