Mental health challenges can affect someone’s ability to work and even make day-to-day living difficult. Treatment tends to take time, involves a lot of visits with therapists and other specialists, and ultimately can cost a great deal of money. Some mental health problems can arise in connection with work. When that happens, workers’ compensation insurance may offer financial relief.
Establishing the relationship between mental illness and work
For a disease to qualify for workers’ compensation insurance in Nevada it must arise out of or in the course of employment. This requirement poses a challenge for people suffering from many kinds of mental health issues. An insurer faced with a claim for expenses relating to mental health has a strong incentive to find that the illness had a cause that was unrelated to work.
In some ways a mental health problem can be analogous to physical injury. Someone who falls at work because of a knee that was injured in a skiing accident may face a difficult fight with an insurer. The same can be true for someone whose mental health condition arose from non-work causes, like a genetic predisposition or substance abuse.
In the early stages of a claim an insurer will require the worker to undergo evaluation by a specialist chosen by the insurer. Quite often an insurer chooses specialists who it knows are more likely to diagnose a less serious condition or determine that the condition had a cause that wasn’t related to work. Workers need to take steps to exercise their right to select a doctor who will be more attuned to the patient’s needs.
Specific events can strengthen a case
It can be easier to show that a mental health condition is job-related if its cause can be traced to a specific event. Some kinds of mental health problems can be related to exposure to toxic substances like mercury or pesticides. The science establishing the connection between toxins and mental health is relatively new, which may lead to complex coverage disputes.
Other problems arise because of a specific stressful event, such as witnessing a traumatic workplace accident or experiencing an especially violent incident. NRS 616C.180 specifically provides that workers’ compensation benefits will apply to treatment for “mental injury caused by extreme stress in times of danger.” Establishing causation for conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder can be relatively straightforward, but is not free of potential roadblocks.
An experienced attorney can defend your rights
Getting workers’ compensation benefits for job-related mental health difficulties can be hard without an experienced advocate. For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served clients in the Las Vegas area in the areas of workers’ compensation and personal injury. If you have questions about how to pursue a workers’ compensation claim for job-related mental health issues, please reach out to us today for a free, confidential attorney consultation. Call us at 702-388-4476, or send us a request through our site.