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Suicide Workers’ Compensation Claims may be compensable if caused by pain, depression from work injury

July 31, 2020

By Richard P. Gaitens, Esquire

In Hansell v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation, a widow filed a fatal claim petition after her husband committed suicide.

Under Section 301(a) of the Workers’ Compensation Act, an employer is not liable for compensation when an employee’s death is self-inflicted. There are, however, exceptions. If the claimant can prove 1) there was an initial work injury, 2) the injury caused the employee to be severely overcome with a disturbance of the mind as to override normal, rational judgment, and 3) the disturbance results in the employee’s suicide, benefits may be awarded.

In this case, doctors’ testimonies that the work injury had caused such pain and disturbance of rational thought that it lead to the suicide of the worker were credible and was therefore compensable.

What does this mean? A worker’s suicide may be compensable if the pain and despair from a work related injury becomes so severe it results in the loss of rational judgment.

If you have a Workers’ Compensation claim, contact us or call (412) 338-1177.

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