Many workers’ injuries are not just physical, but psychological as well. This is especially true for workers who have been involved in very traumatic accidents, or have sustained injuries that have permanent effects, such as burn injuries, significant scarring, disfigurement, or loss of limb injuries. When a worker is psychologically injured–perhaps developing anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression–as as a direct result of a workplace injury, that worker often wonders whether or not his or her psychological injuries will be paid for by workers’ compensation insurance.
Arizona Revised Statute section 23-1043.01 Heart-related and Mental Cases reads, “A mental injury, illness or condition shall not be considered a personal injury by accident arising out of an in the course of employment and is not compensable pursuant to this chapter unless some unexpected, unusual or extraordinary stress related to the employment or some physical injury related to the employment was a substantial contributing cause or the mental injury, illness or condition.” In other words, the statute reads that a worker cannot receive mental health benefits if the mental health condition arose out of workplace circumstances (i.e., if an employee finds his or her job stressful, mental health services for this stress are not covered); however, an employee may seek psychological services if and when a workplace injury is severe enough to cause mental or psychological harm. As such, if you have developed or sustained a psychological injuries as a direct result of your workplace accident, then you can receive compensation for related treatment costs under workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer/workers’ compensation insurance company tries to deny you these benefits types, an attorney can advocate on your behalf.