Psychiatric Injuries in the Airline Industry

Chicago Lawyers for Air Travel Workers’ Compensation Claims

There are many different kinds of injuries that can be sustained in the airline industry that are covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. These can include psychiatric injuries such as trauma, stress, and occupational disease. However, in each case, it is important to show that the condition is related to the workplace. If you are an airline worker who has experienced a psychiatric injury in the airline industry, an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck can evaluate your potential claims.

Psychiatric Injuries in the Airline Industry

Like other work-related injuries, psychiatric injuries can be compensated under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”). The Act is supposed to be construed liberally, such that a worker who suffers a severe and sudden emotional shock that can be traced to a particular cause, place and time has experienced an “accident” within the Act’s meaning of the word. This is the case even where there was no physical injury or trauma. Benefits are appropriate where there is an uncommon event that is out of proportion to normal employment episodes. However, a workers’ compensation insurer may try to show that any kind of psychiatric harm is the result of non-work events over time rather than a single traumatic event.

Sometimes psychiatric harm occurs without physical harm, while in other cases, psychiatric harm is related to physical harms. For example, if an angry passenger beats up an airline attendant, there may be both a physical harm and a psychiatric harm. However, if there is a scare that the plane will go down, an airline attendant may experience psychiatric harm.

If you only have a psychiatric claim for compensation, you will need to be able to show that (1) you suffered a shocking event or unusual degree of mental trauma and (2) that these work conditions substantially caused your psychiatric problems. The psychiatric injuries need to be due to more than the usual daily stress of a job. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission reviews workers’ compensation claims and makes determinations about whether benefits should be awarded for psychiatric work injuries.

Traumatic Events

When there is an acute event or episode resulting in serious and immediate psychiatric harm, an employee is more likely to be able to recover benefits than in many other situations. Being attacked by a passenger may qualify as an acute event. Under these circumstances, it’s important to seek medical care right away. When there is documentation supporting an immediate need for psychiatric care and treatment, it is easier to establish the causal relationship between the work conditions and the psychiatric harm. Additionally, it’s usually necessary to put forward opinion testimony from a treating physician or psychiatrist that the workplace event caused the harm. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you gather and present evidence in support of your claim.

Gradual Deterioration

Courts have found that recovery isn’t permitted for psychological injuries that gradually develop within the normal course of employment. Mental disorders arising out of a worker’s gradual deterioration are only compensable if a disorder arises from a situation greater than the daily stress all employees suffer. Whether the requisite conditions existed is an objective standard, not just a subjective standard, and the employment conditions must have contributed more to the disorder than non-work conditions did.

Skilled Workers' Compensation Attorneys in Chicago

If you have suffered psychiatric injuries in the airline industry in Chicago, a dedicated workers' compensation lawyer can help you assess your rights and options. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent workers with psychiatric and other injuries in communities including Rockford, Aurora, Quincy, Springfield, and Champaign, as well as Adams, Sangamon, Cook, Champaign, Winnebago, and Kane Counties. We also examine the situation to determine whether other relief, such as damages in a personal injury lawsuit or SSDI, may be available. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us online.