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Can you file for workers' compensation for mental impairment?

You know that when you sustain an injury you can file a workers' compensation claim to cover the financial loss you experience as a result. Almost all injuries qualify for coverage if they happened at work or while on the job at a different location.

However, what if your injury is mental instead of physical, or a physical injury leads to mental impairment? The good news is that you may be eligible for compensation.

Colorado law on workers' comp and mental health

In Colorado, you may file a claim if you meet the following criteria:

  • The event was psychologically traumatic and not usual to experience in your line of work.
  • The event would have caused the same psychological trauma for someone else in similar circumstances.
  • The event was not a performance evaluation, disciplinary action, demotion, job transfer, termination, lay-off, promotion or retirement.
  • The event was not something common in all types of jobs.
  • The result was a permanent mental disability that the medical community officially recognizes.
  • The disability temporarily or permanently prevents you from returning to your job or causes you to need medical or psychological treatment.

The event can also be a physical workplace injury that negatively affected your mental health significantly enough to fall under the definition of mental impairment.

You will need the testimony of a licensed psychologist or physician as evidence in your claim. If you are successful, you will receive benefits for only 12 weeks. The minimum amount is $150 weekly, and the maximum is half of the average wage per week in Colorado (unless you were a victim of violence).

New inclusion of PTSD for first responders

Previously, the law did not cover those whose occupations were inherently traumatic, such as police officers, unless the trauma fit the above requirements. However, a recent bill that went into effect July 1, 2018, allows claims for PTSD if a psychiatrist, not physician or psychologist, diagnoses the mental illness and offers proof.

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