“What Constitutes a Compensable Psychological Claim Under Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law?”
Katherine Jensen authored an article published by Daily Report on Oct. 13, 2021, discussing the compensability of claims related to psychological injury under Georgia workers’ compensation law.
“Under Georgia law, a claimant must prove he or she sustained an injury arising out of and in the course of the employment to recover workers’ compensation benefits,” Jensen said. “The courts have construed a compensable ‘injury’ under O.C.G.A statute 34-9-1(4) as a ‘discernable physical injury.’”
Based on this interpretation, the long-standing rule in Georgia is that a psychological injury is only compensable if it arises “naturally and unavoidably” from some discernable physical occurrence.
“A claimant is entitled to benefits for psychological treatment that arose out of an accident in which a compensable physical injury was sustained and that physical injury contributed to the continuation of the psychological trauma,” Jensen said. “A psychological injury not accompanied by a physical injury is not compensable.”
In addition to requiring that a psychological injury must arise out of an accident in which a compensable physical injury was sustained, claims must also meet a second condition: while the physical injury need not be the precipitating cause of the psychological condition or problems, at a minimum, the physical injury must contribute to the continuation of the psychological trauma.
For the full article, which also details Georgia court decisions that established precedent for psychological compensability, please click here.