Medical Conditions: Mental Disorders

Hall v. State Compensation Insurance Fund [1/13/99] 1999 MTWCC 3 Although the 1987 legislature amended the definition of injury to exclude mental conditions arising from emotional or mental stress or non-physical stimulus or activity, when a psychological condition is caused or aggravated by a compensable workplace injury or disease, it is compensable. Somatoform disorder arising out of claimant's allergic-type reaction to workplace chemicals was compensable and prevented claimant from having reached MMI, although physical symptoms had resolved.
O'Connor v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. [06/23/95] 1995 MTWCC 51 Where claimant’s doctor testified at trial that he did not recommend counseling for claimant, insurer was not liable for claimant’s counseling costs. Although claimant now submits additional opinion from her physician, the matter should have been explored at trial and will not now be reopened.
Peterson v. State Comp. Ins. Fund [11/23/94] 1994 MTWCC 105 Although the 1987 Legislature amended the definition of compensable injuries to exclude mental conditions “arising from (a) emotional or mental stress; or (b) a non physical stimulus or activity,” mental conditions remain compensable when caused or aggravated by physical injuries meeting the statutory definition of compensable industrial injury. Where persuasive psychiatric evidence indicated that claimant suffered from depression or a somatoform disorder caused by his physical injury, he is entitled to ongoing temporary total disability benefits as long as he is disabled by the resulting mental condition, but those benefits are conditioned on him following reasonable medical and psychological advice. Given medical evidence, including evidence that claimant improved previously when on psychiatric medication, a psychiatric referral is appropriate if not essential.