Minnesota legislators made a revision to the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act earlier this month, adding a clause that makes “mental-mental” injuries compensable.

The revision specifically changes how claims of post-traumatic stress-disorder are viewed under Minnesota law. PTSD was previously viewed as a disease that arose “out of and in the course of employment peculiar to the occupation in which the employee is engaged and due to causes in excess of the hazards of ordinary employment”.  What that meant was PTSD claims could be considered valid if the employee could prove that their disorder arose out of a physical injury. Now an employee may pursue a workers’ compensation claim if they can prove their PTSD arose from a certain “mental” injury.

PTSD has always been compensable under the state’s workers’ compensation laws if it was caused by a physical injury,” said Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney Ben Heimerl.  “What the legislative changes really added was the addition of a mental-mental injury, which means a mental stressor caused the PTSD to develop.”

Heimerl added that the revision opens a new door to workers’ compensation claims.

“These types of claims, until now, were not compensable,” said Heimerl.  “People who witness or experience a traumatic event may now be able to get the benefits they deserve.”

The revision will be a great addition for claimants who develop PTSD as a result of a non-physical work event.  To ensure people won’t attempt to game the system, the revision specifically outlined some work events that will not be compensable under the new law.  Mental disorders arising from any of the following events are not compensable”

  • Disciplinary action
  • Work evaluation
  • Job transfer
  • Layoff
  • Demotion
  • Promotion
  • Termination
  • Retirement
  • Any action taken in ‘good faith’ by the employer

Heimerl said he was pleased that the measure passed, and believes other changes to the Act are on the horizon.

“This is not the only important change this year, but it’s a big one.”