The general rule is that a mental injury must accompany a physical injury to be covered by workers' compensation in Illinois. A mental injury, on it's own, is not enough. If the emotional distress is caused by a physical injury, it may be compensable. Or, if the mental stress causes physical symptoms, you may have a chance at getting benefits. Some examples are below.
Examples of injuries that would not be a case
If your manager has been hard on you, even verbally abusive, and it causes you severe stress, you probably can't get workers' compensation benefits in Illinois. If your co-workers are spreading rumors about your job performance or personal life, and it's causing you anxiety, a workers' compensation claim would most likely be denied.
Examples that may be a good case
On the other hand, if a physical injury leads to a mental injury, you may be covered for both. For example, if you suffer a physical injury at work and become depressed due to the inability to work or as a side effect of your medical treatment, you would be covered for both the physical injury and the depression. There is a small exception to the physical injury rule. If you witness a traumatic event, such as the sudden and shocking death of a co-worker while on the job, you can probably get benefits for any resulting psychological injury, even if you weren't physically harmed.
Additional resources provided by the author
Is this confusing? Not sure whether you are eligible for benefits? Call us and talk to one of our lawyers. We listen, and if we think you need an attorney (you'll get our honest opinion), we'll give you the name of an experienced attorney we know. 1-800-517-1614.
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