New Study Explores How Workers’ Compensation Is Affected by Depression

Posted on : September 26, 2017
depression and workers' comp are connected

Depressions Affect on Workers’ Compensation Victims

Workplace injury typically constitutes an image of a physical injury such as a laceration, back injury, or respiratory illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control, however, depression is one of the leading causes of injury or disease worldwide for both women and men. It creates an economic burden in the United States alone and more than $210 billion and up to 7.5% of Americans over age 12 struggle with this condition and may experience symptoms that extend into their home, work and social activities. There is no doubt that the workplace is not immune from these effects.

The CDC shares that depressed workers’ comp employees can suffer from absenteeism, lower productivity and loss of work and can also put individuals at a higher risk for smoking, substance abuse, and other mental disorders.

How An Injury In The Workplace Can Prompt Depression

A serious workplace injury can trigger depression or upset multiple aspects of a worker’s life. If the worker is in chronic pain, the risk for this mental condition is further worsened and could, therefore, put strains on the worker’s compensation system because depression will likely prolong the costs associated with the injury and the disability itself. Treatment for depression manifest because of the on-the-job injury, however, may not be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. They may be less likely to receive cognitive therapy or medication if they suffer from depression and a lack of effective treatment could lead to a longer time away from their job or impact their performance when they do come back.

Employer Awareness Of Depression After A Workplace Injury

Employers should be mindful of paying attention in order to identify and prevent depression in the workforce. This condition is part of an overall medical diagnosis from the worker’s compensation injury. It can complicate the legal claim made by the employee and should be shared directly with a knowledgeable worker’s compensation attorney.