Can Workers’ Compensation Cover Psychological Treatments?

Can psychological assistance be covered by my claim?

Stress can occur at varying levels at any job. Sometimes the stress is long term or so severe that it may result in some form of permanent impairment. In the State of Nevada, statutes relating to workers compensation allow for certain psychological and mental injury to be covered under insurance benefits. As with all other injuries, in order to qualify for Nevada workers compensation benefits, any mental or psychological injury must be a direct result of the performance of your work duties. However, these types of claims are more difficult to prove, as there is most commonly no physical proof for these types of injuries. A psychiatrist must be able to give proof that such injuries were a direct result of your employment. Certain work-related events are not covered by insurance benefits, so it is important to understand the statutes involved in identifying the cause and effects of any qualifying injuries.

Symptoms caused by a psychological mental impairment

When an individual is exposed to severe stress or an extremely stressful situation, symptoms may present themselves in many different ways. However, some of the most commonly identified symptoms of severe stress may appear as any of the following:

  • • Increased levels of anxiety
  • • Mental distress or the inability to reason
  • • Emotional breakdowns
  • • Physical manifestations, such as ulcers, insomnia, or a weakened immune system
  • • Permanent impairment

Continued heightened levels of anxiety or mental distress may lead to some type of breakdown requiring medical intervention by a trained psychiatric professional. In rare cases, the continued presence of stress can actually manifest itself in physical health problems. Occasionally, continued exposure to stress may result in permanent impairment.

Filing a psychological impairment workers compensation claim

Filing a workers compensation claim for any stress-related injury or illness is much harder to prove than physical or bodily injury claims. Unlike physical impairment, it is often difficult to show proof of injuries that occur as a result of stress. Additionally, it becomes even more difficult to prove that any such stress-related injuries were as a direct result of your employment and that these injuries occurred on the job. While Nevada statutes help provide guidelines for allowable cases, the difficulty in proving such claims can increase stress levels, making the situation worse and even more difficult to prove that such stress-related injuries were caused solely by your job.

Getting diagnosed by a psychologist for your claim

In order to be approved for workers compensation under Nevada statutes, you must be examined and diagnosed by a qualified psychiatric professional to make the determination that you have suffered permanent injuries as a direct result of the performance of your job duties.

Psychiatrist must be able to prove that the mental injury was caused by work

This is often very difficult to prove. You may have to provide additional proof to the psychiatrist and in your claim in order to prove that the condition was not brought about by other factors. Even though the injuries will need to be determined to be job related, your life outside of work will also need to be examined. You will have to show documentation of any past health issues, including psychiatric problems, any financial issues you have faced or may be facing, details about your home and family life, as well as personal issues.

Higher standard of proof due to the nature of the claim

The burden of proof will be placed on you to show that your injuries were not a gradual result of combined events as noted in the appropriate Nevada statutes in order to qualify for workers compensation benefits. You or your psychiatrist may need to provide detailed information such as your developmental history, work and home satisfaction, school, military, and work records, employment reviews, and information gathered from interviews with coworkers and family members in order to determine that your work caused the injuries in question.

Unique problem proving temporary versus permanent impairment

In order to receive a permanent partial disability rating and related benefits, it is typically easy to prove that such permanence exists with cases involving bodily injuries. However, it is much harder to provide the necessary clear and convincing evidence, whether medical or psychiatric, that is needed to receive this award in cases where the injury is more psychological in nature.

Proving that the psychological disorder was directly caused by work duties

Nevada statutes provide guidelines for identifying if stress-related injuries were caused as a direct result of employment. This is typically described as an actual event that caused you extreme stress in a time of danger that arose during the scope and course of your employment.

 When the psychological insurance claim will not be covered

There are times when you may experience stress-related injuries as a result of your job that are not covered by workers compensation benefits and will result in a denial of your claim. These actions include:

  • • If the stress-related injuries were a result of being laid off from your job
  • • If the stress was caused as a result of termination of employment
  • • If stress-related injuries were caused as a result of any disciplinary action you received during the course of your employment

 Nevada Statues covering psychological disabilities

It is important to be familiar with the legal guidelines available in the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) that are relevant stress-related injuries before filing a claim. These statutes include the following:

  • • NRS 616C.180 Injury or disease caused by stress, especially Section 3(a), (b), and (c)
  • • NRS 616C.490 Permanent partial disability: Compensation
  • • NRS 616C.560 Extension of program for vocational rehabilitation, especially Section 3 (a) and (b)
  • • NRS 616C.700 Duties of the insurer who accepts a claim for catastrophic injury; life care plan, especially Section 4 (a) and (b)

 Getting legal assistance with your workers compensation claim

While it is beneficial to hire an attorney regarding any claim for workers compensation, it can be especially important when trying to prove psychological or mental injuries were a direct result of employment. The qualified attorneys at the Morris/Anderson Law Firm have experience working with all types of work-related injuries, including those that are stress-related in nature. The attorneys can help you to know what all is involved in the process and help you to obtain the necessary documentation to build a stronger claim.

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