Can A Person Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Psychological Injuries?

by Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys

Injuries that occur in a work setting are not always physical. In fact, an on-the-job injury is often psychological and emotional scarring. Many people wonder, though, if these types of injuries should qualify someone to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. This question was addressed by The Court of Civil Appeals of the State of Oklahoma in the recent case of City of Norman v. Helms.

Court documents show that the plaintiff was a firefighter for the city of Norman, Oklahoma. His lawsuit claims he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression after responding to a call where two young boys had suffocated in the trunk of a car on Aug. 28, 2005.

He was originally awarded Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation benefits, but the city appealed the decision on the grounds that no physical injury had occurred during the call, and therefore, the firefighter was not entitled to benefits.

The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Act says an employee cannot collect benefits for a non-physical injury, unless it is the direct result of a compensable injury. Exceptions to the rule are only made in cases of rape or violent crime that occurs during an individual’s course of employment.

The Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorneys with J. Colbert Injury Lawyers know how complex the laws controlling workers’ compensation benefits can be. That is why the firm advises anyone who has been hurt in an on-the-job accident to discuss your case with a qualified attorney immediately.