Yes, it’s possible to get workers’ compensation for a mental illness. What’s important to understand is that not only physical injuries occur at work but mental injuries as well. If you have suffered emotional stress at work resulting in a mental injury or illness, our Rhode Island workers’ comp attorney explains what determines if you are eligible for benefits and the type of work-related events that may cause the injury.  Workers' comp for mental illness | Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Lawyer

Traumatic Work Events and Mental Injuries

It is common for a job to cause stress at one time or another. But when the stress of the job becomes too overwhelming mentally and makes it impossible for an employee to meet their work requirements, it can be considered an illness or mental injury.

In some cases, the stress can be due to an employee having witnessed or being involved in a traumatic event that resulted in a physical injury, disability, or death.

Other Types of Traumatic Work-Related Events

  • Sexual harassment
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Being forced to perform illegal acts
  • Threats or intimidation
  • Racial or gender discrimination

Work-Related Mental Illnesses

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

While these types of illnesses cannot be visibly seen, they can impact a person’s ability to perform their work responsibilities as well as interfere with their daily life. A person with a work-related mental illness may experience panic attacks, headaches, insomnia, intense fear, and PTSD flashbacks.

Workers’ Compensation for Mental Illness in Rhode Island

A workers’ comp attorney can determine whether or not your illness qualifies for workers’ compensation. To be eligible for benefits in Rhode Island, you must prove that a work injury exists that prevents you from doing your job. Under Title 28-34-2, occupational diseases are considered compensable. This means, any illness or mental injury caused by work-related trauma or emotional stress that leaves an employee disabled is treated as an injury, and that employee is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. To qualify, there must be evidence that the condition is disabling.

Why You Should Hire an Attorney in Rhode Island

It is important to have a Rhode Island lawyer on your side when you are filing a workers’ comp claim for mental illness. Many people are unaware that a mental illness connected to work may qualify for benefits, and they should not pay for medical costs out of pocket. A lawyer can protect your legal rights and make sure you file your Rhode Island workers’ comp claim within the necessary two years from the date of the disability. They can also determine the value of your claim and negotiate with your employer’s insurance company on your behalf. If your claim is denied, a lawyer can help request a hearing on your behalf where you can present evidence to support your claim.

Potential Evidence

  • Documentation of any medical treatment you have received
  • Diagnosis of the mental illness from a qualified medical professional
  • Proof that your illness has prevented you from working at your current job

Contact Our Rhode Island Workers’ Comp Lawyer

If you are unable to work due to a work-related mental illness and need help with a claim, contact our team of experienced workers’ comp lawyers at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum to help obtain compensation that can make a difference in your life. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help work injury victims in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.


Christopher L. Russo
Helping Rhode Island personal injury victims for nearly three decades to get the compensation they deserve.