Emotional Distress and Workers' Compensation in Illinois
Physical injury must existThe 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 caseIf 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 caseOn 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.