Psychological Injury Can Result From Work-Related Physical Injury

Many times in Pennsylvania workers’ comp cases we see an injured worker devastated by a physical injury. Once a provider for his or her family, the injured worker may find themselves home, unable to work, do any chores around the house or take part in hobbies or pleasurable activities. Frequently, this can lead to emotional strain in the household. This dramatic change in an injured worker’s life often leads to psychological symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. When the depression and anxiety results from a work-related injury, in PA, the new psychological condition can be added to the workers’ compensation case.

While case law has changed over the years, as to how long an injured worker has to add more injuries or diagnoses to a workers’ compensation case in Pennsylvania, a recent case from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has confirmed that a workers’ comp claimant in PA can file a Petition to add a psychological condition to an accepted physical injury any time within three years of the latest payment of PA workers’ compensation benefits.

Though the claimant in this recent case, Campbell v. WCAB (Pittsburgh Post Gazette), ultimately lost in his attempt to add a psychological injury to his accepted physical injury, the Court disagreed with the Workers’ Compensation Judge that the claimant waited too long to file his Petition. The Court concluded that the Workers’ Compensation Judge was wrong about the statute of limitations, but the Workers’ Compensation Judge also found the medical evidence submitted by claimant not credible, so claimant still lost.