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Depression and Anxiety from a Work Injury

Injuries almost always cause pain.  Pain often makes people feel depressed.  Pain can also cause lack of sleep.  Lack of sleep can also cause depression.

Many people take a lot of pride in the work they do.  Limitations from a serious injury can often keep you from doing your job.  A serious injury may also affect your ability to do things that you do around the house.  You may not be able to participate in sports or other physical activities.

As a result of all of these different factors, serious injuries at work often cause depression and anxiety.

It is important to understand that nothing in this article is intended as medical advice.  The author is a lawyer, not a doctor.  This article is intended to provide you with an understanding of how the Georgia workers’ compensation law deals with depression and how it might affect your workers’ compensation case.  If you feel that you are suffering from depression, you should talk to a doctor to get proper medical advice.

Serious injuries often lead to depression or anxietyGetting the workers’ compensation insurance company to pay for treatment of depression

If your work injury caused your depression, you need to talk to your treating physician about it.  Your treating physician may prescribe some medication or refer you to a medical provider that specializes in mental health treatment (such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a counselor).

In Georgia, the workers’ compensation insurance company may have to pay for treatment of your depression if it is caused by your work injury.  However, you need to make sure that you get a referral from your authorized treating physician for the specialized treatment.  If you do not have this referral, then the insurance company will probably not have to pay for your treatment.

Many people have had some treatment for depression in the past.  However, their depression gets worse after a serious injury.  Even if you were depressed before your injury, the insurance company may still be responsible for treatment if the injury made it worse.

What if my depression affects my ability to go back to work?

Depression also affects your ability to go back to work.  Some people find it extremely difficult to get out of bed in the mornings.  Other people cannot take working in a stressful environment or find it difficult to focus.

All of these things and others affect your ability to do your job.  If your injury causes your depression, then your employer will have to take these things into account if they try to provide you with a job you can do.  If you have not shown that your depression is due to your work injury, then your employer (and their insurance company) may not have to accommodate the limitations from your depression.

What about depression that comes from something other than a physical injury?

Currently, Georgia law only covers treatment of depression and other mental conditions when they arise as a result of a physical injury.  This rule comes from a 1998 Georgia Supreme Court decision in the case of Abernathy v. City of Albany.

In this case, Joel Abernathy was denied workers’ compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder that developed as a direct result of retrieving 12 corpses and hundreds of corpses during flooding of the Flint River in 1994.  The Georgia Supreme Court concluded that Georgia’s workers’ compensation law did not cover Mr. Abernathy’s PTSD.

Many people develop psychological conditions when exposed to traumatic events at work.  Unfortunately, the Abernathy decision means that Georgia workers compensation law currently does not cover depression, PTSD, or other mental conditions unless those conditions arise from a physical injury.  Because of this, many people who have a mental condition caused by their work cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia.

Hopefully, the Georgia legislature will decide to change the law to overrule this decision in the near future.  Until that happens, it is important to determine whether you may have suffered any sort of physical injury at work (even if your depression is more severe than your physical injury).

Questions about depression and workers’ compensation

If your injury at work caused your depression, the workers’ compensation insurer should pay for your treatment.  The insurance company may refuse to do this voluntarily.  You may need to get an attorney involved.

Even if the insurance company pays for treatment of your depression, many people have questions about whether they are receiving all the benefits they should receive.  I believe the best way to get answers to your questions is to talk to an attorney who specializes in Georgia workers’ compensation law.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.

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