Did you know that psychological and mental injuries may be compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act? Therefore, it’s important to know that these types of injuries are divided into three distinct categories, and each one carries its own burden of proof.
*The first category of psychological injury involves a mental condition that occurs during or after a physical event (physical/mental injury). Any worker attempting to have a psychological injury deemed work-related must prove that a work-related physical injury caused the mental condition. Note that the work-related physical injury does not have to be “disabling” in that it caused a loss of earning power or wages, and claimants must only prove that a physical event or stimulus caused or resulted in some psychological injury or condition.
*The second category of psychological injury is a mental condition that causes a physical injury (mental/physical injury). If a physical injury arises from a psychological stimulus such as stress, the claimant must prove that a work-related psychological stimulus caused the ensuing physical harm. Also, mental/physical injuries have two elements: (1) a psychological stimulus that causes a physical injury, which remains even after the stimulus is removed; and (2) a disability or loss of earning power, which is caused by the physical condition rather than by the psychological stimulus.
*The third category of psychological injury occurs when a psychological trauma results in some mental injury or condition (mental/mental injury). It may result from a single-event psychological trauma or a stressful working environment.
Claimants seeking to prove that some single-event psychological trauma or stressful working environment resulted in a mental condition (mental/mental injury), must prove either (a) that the trauma was caused by actual known, recorded, extraordinary events occurring at work; or (b) that abnormal working conditions over a long period caused the injury or harm.
Cases involving psychological injuries under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law may be complicated. If you believe that you have a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, call for a free consultation with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney at Powel Law. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE!