RECOVERY FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURY UNDER ILLINOIS WORKMENS' COMPENSATION ACT
Illinios workers seeking to recover for non-traumatically induced mental disease have significant evidentiary obstacles to overcome. In order to prevail, the worker must show: 1) the mental disorder arose in a situation of greater dimensions that day to day emotional strain and tension present in every workplace; 2) the mental condition must exist in reality, from an objective standpoint and 3) the employment conditions, when compared with other potential non-employment explanations, were the major contributing cause of the mental disorder. Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization v. The Industrial Commission (1st Dist. 2000), 312 Ill.App. 3d 783, 245 Ill.Dec. 416, 728 N.E.2d 498. My office recently tried a case on behalf of a worker who sustained non-traumatically induced panic disorder as a result of work conditions. This individual had an underlying psychological issue that was well under control, and, importantly, the employer was well aware of the condition. Thankfully we were able to provide convincing evidence that my client was singled out for harsh treatment none of this co-workers had to endure. In addition, we presented evidence that the harsh treatment continued even after the employee complained that it was aggravating his underlying condition. My client’s deteriorating physical and psychological conditions were properly documented by health care professionals. Finally, his domestic situation was great – there were no other explanations for why he went into a tailspin. The arbitrator decided in my client’s favor and entered a nice award on my client’s behalf.