Does Workers’ Comp Cover Mental Stress Due to COVID-19?

medical worker in PPEDid you suffer a mental health injury due to COVID-19? If so and your injury is work-related, you may be eligible to apply for workers' compensation benefits while you recover.   

It is not uncommon for employees to suffer a serious mental stress injury after a traumatic incident or when dealing with ongoing and extreme stress or high-risk situations at work. The unprecedented strain on health care professionals and first responder personnel due to COVID-19 has caused many to suffer severe depression and other work-related mental health conditions this past year.

Contact the offices of Greg Coleman Law to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our qualified attorneys. This meeting is an opportunity to discuss your situation, get answers to your legal questions and learn whether you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. There is no cost or obligation to you - even if you choose to move forward without filing a claim.

Is Mental Stress Due to COVID-19 a Covered Injury?

The Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act covers injuries that occur while an employee is performing his or her job duties.While this may include a mental health injury, work-related injuries are generally visible, physical and caused by a single incident. Other covered conditions, like carpal tunnel, may qualify as an occupational condition - such as a repetitive stress injury - that happened over time. However, a valid mental health injury may also occur in any type of job, given the right circumstances. 

That is not to say that an employee who puts in a lot of overtime hours would be eligible for workers' compensation when there are no other contributing factors. Rather, mental health injuries more commonly occur when a worker is either exposed to a single traumatic incident or working on a daily basis under extreme stress and high-risk situations, such as what frontline health care workers have been facing since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Mental Work Injuries Due to COVID-19

The extraordinary mental stress experienced by medical professionals and other frontline workers dealing with COVID-19 on a daily basis, and with little time to recover, may lead to severe work-related PTSD, depression and other mental health disorders. Those most vulnerable include:

  • Health care workers, especially doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals with direct care for COVID-19 patients
  • First responders, including police officers, firefighters, EMTs and ambulance drivers
  • Other essential workers, such as grocery store workers who may feel anxiety due to being exposed to the public on a daily basis

Symptoms That May Indicate a Mental Stress Injury

There are a number of emotional signs or physical symptoms that may indicate someone is dealing with PTSD or another mental stress injury, including:

  • Increased or rapid heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Social withdrawal
  • Feeling atypically sad or depressed
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

Proving Mental Stress or PTSD is Work-Related

The state provides basic information about pursuing a Tennessee workers' comp claim online. However, workers' compensation claims for a mental stress injury are extremely challenging to pursue without legal help. The injured worker must be able to show that his or her PTSD, anxiety, depression or other mental stress injury was directly caused by work. Unlike a physical injury, there is no one incident that caused the injury and, unlike an occupational condition, the injury is not immediately visible. 

Hiring an attorney to guide you through the process may also help you to avoid mistakes that many employees make when pursuing a workers' compensation claim, such as neglecting to seek medical care for an injury. In addition to taking care of your health, seeking medical attention also helps to provide additional evidence for your claim.

Proving a mental stress injury will likely require the experience of a knowledgeable attorney, along with testimony from a medical professional, credible coworkers and family members who can attest to changes in your behavior.

Contact Our Firm For Legal Help With Your Claim

When you work with one of our Knoxville-based workers' compensation attorneys, you do not have to try to prepare and pursue a workers' compensation claim on your own. 

At Greg Coleman Law, we have extensive experience helping injured employees pursue benefits through a Tennessee workers' compensation claim. We understand state workers' compensation laws - including how they may apply to a mental stress injury - and we are prepared to fight to help you obtain the benefits you need.

Obtaining benefits for a mental health injury is extremely difficult to accomplish on your own. We are prepared to protect your legal interests throughout the claims process, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.

Call our offices anytime, day or night, to learn more about how we may be able to help. We charge nothing up front or while we represent you. We only collect our fees if we achieve benefits on your behalf.

Millions Recovered. No Upfront Costs. (865) 247-0080