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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Depression?4 minute read

Workers’ compensation covers you when you suffer an injury at work.  This insurance provides you with certain benefits after you suffer a work-related injury.

Two of the main benefits that Georgia workers’ compensation provides is:

  1. Medical benefits (coverage for the medical treatment and testing you need for your injury)
  2. Wage loss benefits (coverage for part of the lost wages you incur as a result of your injury)

Serious workers’ compensation injuries often cause other health conditions.  Two of the most common health conditions I see people hurt at work develop as a result of a workers’ compensation injury are depression and anxiety.

Many people develop depression and anxiety when they are in pain and cannot work as a result of an injury at work.  These conditions may require medical treatment and can make it even more difficult for someone to return to work.

Female psychologist treating male patient for PTSDDoes Georgia workers’ compensation cover depression and/or anxiety which develops as a result of your injury at work?

It depends.  Georgia’s workers’ compensation law has special rules about when depression is covered.

The biggest situation where depression and anxiety are not covered is often referred to as “mental-mental” injuries.  What this means is that Georgia law requires you to have a physical injury at work to get a mental health condition covered under workers’ compensation.  If you do not have a physical injury, then mental health conditions are not covered.

Let’s take an example.  Suppose you injure your back at work and then develop depression as a result of the pain from your injury and being unable to return to work.  This depression would likely be covered under workers’ compensation in Georgia.

But, let’s look at another example.  Suppose you are a convenience store clerk who is robbed at gunpoint but you are not physically injured.  If you develop depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition as a result of the robbery, Georgia’s workers’ compensation law would not cover those mental health conditions because you did not suffer a physical injury.

This rule does not make a lot of sense to me.  Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health conditions can be caused without physical injuries.  But, it is currently the law in Georgia until the legislature or the Georgia courts change that rule.

If my depression or anxiety is covered under workers’ compensation, what benefits do I receive?

If you have a physical injury and develop depression or another mental health condition that is covered by workers’ compensation, you can receive the same benefits that Georgia workers’ compensation typically provides.  Those benefits fall into three basic categories:

  1. Medical benefits (payment for the medical treatment and testing you need with certain authorized doctors)
  2. Wages loss benefits (a percentage of your lost wages)
  3. Permanent partial disability benefits (if you have a permanent impairment as a result of the condition)

Medical benefits will cover the medical treatment you need to treat your mental health condition.  Hopefully, this treatment will help you get better.

Wage loss benefits can be paid if your mental health condition keeps you from returning to work or cause you to earn less.  This can be important because depression and other mental health conditions can sometimes make it even more difficult to return to work than a physical injury.

Permanent partial disability benefits compensate you if your condition causes a permanent impairment.  If that is the case, your doctor will give you a permanent partial disability rating using the 5th Edition of the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.

Female doctor on computer discusses surgery with male patientWhat if the workers’ compensation insurance company refuses to pay for my depression or anxiety?

Many times, insurance companies deny treatment for depression and anxiety.  If this happens, you may receive a form WC-3 notice to controvert informing you that they are not paying for this treatment.

Sometimes, the insurance company does not file this notice to controvert.  They may just notify you over the phone or with an email or letter that they are not going to pay for your treatment.  Also, they may not tell you they are denying the treatment at all but instead just refuse to authorize the treatment.

You can take steps to get this treatment approved if the workers’ compensation insurance company refuses to pay for the treatment you need.  This article I wrote discusses some of the different steps you can take when insurance companies delay or deny medical treatment.

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.
moombimoombi
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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