Psychic Injuries Are Compensable, Rules GA Court

</pThe Georgia Court of Appeals recently affirmed well-settled law when it held that a school bus driver was entitled to workers' compensation benefits for depression, anxiety, and an adjustment disorder, all of which she developed after suffering an asthma attack in the course of her employment with the DeKalb County Board of Education. In so ruling, the Court rejected the school board's contention that the bus driver, Tracy Singleton, suffered from only mild depression and anxiety.

Georgia case law provides a two-part test for determining whether a psychological injury is compensable: first, the psychological injury must arise out of an accident in which a compensable physical injury was sustained; and second, while the physical injury need not be the precipitating cause of the psychological condition or problems, at a minimum the physical injury must contribute to the continuation of the psychological trauma.

Several physicians concluded that Singleton's asthma attack was caused or aggravated by exposure to fire extinguisher residue and fumes from cleaning products on her school bus. In addition, a psychologist diagnosed her with an "adjustment disorder with depression" and concluded that she "has too much anxiety about driving the bus to be placed in that position, as it may not be safe because it could be unpredictable for her to do so.”

Continue Reading...