Types of Compensable Injuries Under Workers’ Compensation
Defining “injury” under the Florida workers’ compensation laws is not as straightforward as you might think. When most people think of on-the-job injuries, they imagine the results of trauma or accidents — for example, injuring your shoulder or head when falling boxes strike you. However, many other types of injuries may qualify for workers’ compensation.
Several distinct types of injuries can be compensable under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws:
- Traumatic physical injuries — Purely physical injuries resulting from an identifiable accident or event are the most common and easiest to prove.
- Occupational diseases — Occupational diseases result from long-term exposure to things like air contaminants, chemicals and excessive noise and include hearing loss, respiratory conditions and certain types of cancer.
- Repetitive stress injuries — Some physical injuries cannot be linked to a specific event and develop over time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis and other orthopedic conditions.
- Physical-mental injuries — A worker who suffers a physical injury on the job can also be compensated for any mental health side effects, as long as they are linked by reliable medical evidence. Examples include anxiety and depression.
- Mental-physical injuries — The most common example of a mental-physical injury is on-the-job stress leading to a heart attack or cardiovascular accident. A mental-physical injury can be difficult to prove, but it may be compensable when supported by proper evidence.
- Mental-mental injuries — Mental health conditions that result from work-related mental stresses are the most difficult claims to prove. In Florida, such a claim must be supported by evidence that the worker was exposed to an objectively stressful work environment above and beyond what would be considered normal.
Workers’ compensation laws in Florida may be broader than you think. If you have been suffering physically or mentally because of your job, you may find it productive to consult a workers’ compensation attorney at our office.