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State Supreme Court denies workers' compensation for depression

Sometimes when a person is involved in an on-the-job accident in Minnesota, the immediate physical injuries are only the beginning of what must be endured. Even what may seem a minor injury at the time can get worse or lead to additional problems that plague victims for years. When this happens, it would be nice to think that compensation remains available. However, that may not always be the case.

A woman was recently denied the ability to receive workers' compensation for depression that was reportedly related to a past injury for which she did receive workers' compensation benefits. The decision was handed down by the Minnesota Supreme Court and hinged on a minor detail in the employee's 2003 settlement for her original injury. The agreement apparently precluded the woman from seeking or receiving compensation for any future treatment.

In the pursuit of additional benefits, the woman claimed that the depression was part of the original injury and not a new condition and therefore her multiple years of treatment should be covered as part of the first claim. The State Supreme Court disagreed saying that the only way for her to receive benefits for her depression treatment was to vacate the terms of the 2003 settlement.

This case offers an interesting look at how far-reaching a single workplace injury can be. People who are hurt on the job may want to talk with a lawyer not only for help with an immediate workers' compensation claim but for help down the road as well.

Source: Business Insurance, "Worker denied comp for depression arising years injury settlement," Stephanie Goldberg, July 15, 2016

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