Ohio Supreme Court Rules That Mental Injury Must Be Caused by Physical Injury and Not Merely Occur at the Same Time

The Ohio Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a state appellate court in finding that a mental illness claim made by an injured worker did not come as a result of the physical injury that the worker sustained in a work-related auto accident. Therefore, the court denied any monetary award as a result of that secondary injury.

The case in question specifically focused on an accident involving a dump truck driver who sustained a back injury as a result of said accident. The driver later claimed to also have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of that same accident. The accident’s details reveal how the injured driver left his vehicle following a collision with another vehicle. As the driver was doing so, he noticed the driver of the other vehicle was not moving. The injured worker realized that the other driver had passed away. Witnessing that image most likely prompted the occurrence of PTSD in the dump truck driver.

While the Ohio Supreme Court acknowledged the mental injury was linked to the accident, it found the PTSD claim as non-compensable because the mental injury was not caused by the claimant’s physical injuries. The distinction in this case is that while the PTSD trigger was related to the accident, a mental health claim can only be legitimately filed when the physical injuries sustained are the cause of the mental injury.

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