In Illinois, psychological/psychiatric injuries are compensable workers' compensation claims in three situations:
When the injuries are related to and caused by a physical trauma or injury.
When the injuries are caused by sudden severe emotional shock traceable to a definite time and place and cause even though no physical trauma or injury occurred.
Generally, workers compensation benefits for non-traumatically-induced mental disability is limited to those employees who can establish that the mental disorder came about from a situation of greater dimensions than the day to day emotional strain and tension that all employees experience, and the employment condition when compared with the non employment conditions were the major contributing cause of the mental disorder.
Mental disorders which develop over time in the normal course of the employment relationship are not compensable. However, with the physical-mental claim, even a minor physical contact or injury may be enough to establish a compensable compensation claim.
When employment activities create a higher than normal degree of stress, and that stress contributes to the employee's physical injury (e.g., heart attack, stroke, etc.), the necessary causation is established.
The employee need only prove that the usual stress of the workplace is greater than the stress experienced by the general public
Feel free to contact Wittenberg, Dougherty & Maglione, Ltd., if you have any questions regarding psychological/psychiatric work injuries.