The Truth about Psychological Workplace Injuries in Georgia
In Georgia, there is a longstanding statute that says psychiatric injuries are not compensable unless they are related to physical injuries. For example, a claimant could develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of a traumatic event, like suffering a catastrophic work injury, which could render him or her completely unable to return to work despite their meeting any physical requirements for doing so. As if the process of receiving benefits for a psychological injury isn’t convoluted enough, it is further obfuscated by the process necessary for proving the validity of a claimant’s psychological disorder.
Psychological disorders like PTSD, insomnia and depression are all legitimate and medically recognized conditions. However, they are generally not compensable under Georgia state law unless they fall into one of three categories, which are as follows:
• Physical-mental injuries refer to situations in which a person suffers a psychological injury as a result of a physical injury. Think about PTSD again: Let’s say a worker’s hand is crushed in a machine. Then, the hand heals and the worker is cleared to return to work; but, he or she cannot because of anxiety and fear of the conditions in which he or she was injured. That is what “physical-mental” means.
• Mental-physical injuries refer to situations in which a person’s mental suffering results in physical harm. For example, let’s say a person witnessed the worker in the physical-mental example get his or her hand crushed. Then, the witness is unable to function in his or her own job because he or she develops anxiety and experiences physically debilitating symptoms.
• Mental-mental refers to mental harm that is provoked by a mental stimulus. So, let’s say the person is bullied by other coworkers and he or she develops crippling anxiety that leaves him or her unable to even come to work. That’s what mental-mental means.
The aforementioned categories dictate Georgia courts’ evaluation of a claimant’s psychological injury. Needless to say, it can be easy to not receive compensation for time missed due to psychiatric injuries. If you have suffered a psychiatric injury in the state of Georgia, do not wait to give us a call here at the Law Offices of Darwin F. Johnson. We’ll set up a free consultation, and we do not collect any fees unless our clients win or settle their cases.