When people in Minnesota think of on-the-job injuries, they usually imagine physical damage to the body. However, that’s not the only way a work environment can injure someone.
In recent years, both the medical field and popular culture have developed a growing understanding of psychological injury. Though invisible, damage to the psyche is just as severe as damage to the body. This leads to interesting questions — and interesting answers — concerning how workers’ comp should apply when a job harms someone’s mind.
Psychological injury at work
Though many people feel frustrated by their workplace environment, some situations are more mentally grueling than others. In certain cases, the job description itself requires employees to subject themselves to traumatic situations. Sometimes, this fact is obvious. For instance, most people easily guess that an emergency medical responder might encounter disturbing events.
Still, there are mentally disturbing jobs most people never even think about. For example, any job which requires employees to view or listen to traumatic materials can be extremely taxing to employees.
Workers’ comp for psychological injury
The law hasn’t completely caught up to compensating mentally injured employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, a federal law, primarily focuses on physical workplace safety. So do most relevant state laws. On the other hand, those laws are mainly preventative.
Workers’ comp is different. Instead of focusing on prevention, workers’ comp aims to help employees who have already sustained injuries. Though the arena of mental health is not well-established in the context of workers’ comp, many such cases are gaining traction.
For anyone with work-related mental injuries, the next steps might seem unclear. If you’ve sustained psychological damage because of your job, you might benefit from talking to a lawyer with experience in workers’ compensation claims.