Accidents can happen in all kinds of workplaces, and they can lead to all kinds of injuries. Many workers may not know that the Louisiana workers’ compensation system can provide benefits for mental as well as physical injuries that happen in the course of the worker’s employment.
What is a mental injury? Under Louisiana’s workers’ compensation law, a mental injury is caused by mental stress. A worker may be able to collect benefits for the treatment of a mental injury that is the result of a sudden, unexpected and extraordinary stress related to the worker’s employment. A mental injury or illness that is caused by a physical injury to the employee’s body in the course of employment may be compensable as well.
It is not easy for workers to prove their case if they wish to collect benefits for a mental injury. They must support their claim with “clear and convincing evidence.” The injury or illness must be documented by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist, using the same criteria as the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Employers or their insurance providers often fail to provide workers with the full amount of benefits they need, and they sometimes deny a claim altogether. However, the state does provide an administrative process in which the worker can argue his or her case before a judge.
A Louisiana workers’ compensation attorney can help at almost any stage of the process of making a claim, from giving advice on filing the initial paperwork, to gathering documentation to arguing on a worker’s behalf at hearings. It isn’t always easy for workers to succeed in their claims, but a good attorney can help.