What role does mental health play in recovery under workers’ compensation?

A new approach to treatment under workers’ compensation and how employers can save money by “doing the right thing.”

Business Insurance has published a fascinating article about psychosocial factors and how they impact recovery under workers’ compensation. Evidence shows that some difficult claims have more to do with mental health than the injury itself. Employers are now choosing to voluntarily provide cognitive behavioral therapy and/or “health coaches” to address this problem.

Our attorneys see this first-hand with our own clients. Stress related to financial pressure and the inability to seek prompt medical care can be overwhelming. Family members make the situation worse with their own judgments and poor legal advice. Anxiety and depression bubble to the surface creating real barriers to a successful recovery.

We are big advocates for the mantra that “doing the right thing” is often most effective. Here are three ways employers can help employees and save money at the same time.

1. Have good communication about the process

We get several calls each week from individuals who do not understand what is happening with their claims. Employers keep them in the dark about paying wage loss and/or medical treatment. This creates an atmosphere of stress, worry, and mistrust.

2. Set expectations about returning to work

Our clients just want to be treated fairly and get back to work. Honor restrictions so that a person has a chance to recover without loss of income. Pay wage loss benefits if no work is available. Do not make up a fake job for the sole purpose of demeaning or harassing the employee. Treating someone with respect and dignity goes a long way.

3. Provide prompt medical care

Access to medical care is the most important benefit under workers’ compensation. Michigan law requires payment if it is reasonable and necessary. Employers are given sole authority to select providers during the first 28 days. This control should be used sparingly and only for the benefit of the employee. Do not ignore injuries or refuse medical treatment as this will only prolong disability.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.

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Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by OctopusHat.

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