Workers' Compensation

Minnesota: Supreme Court Gives Guidance Regarding Evidentiary Requirements of State’s PTSD Provisions

Prior to a 2013 amendment to Minn. Stat. § 176.011, subd. 16, Minnesota provided no workers’ compensation coverage for mental injuries that had a mental stimulus as their origin. Since then, however, coverage has been provided to those employees diagnosed with PTSD by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, as long as the diagnosis conforms to the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM) [see Minn. Stat. § 176.011, subd. 15(d)]. Reversing a decision by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (“WCCA”), the Supreme Court of Minnesota held the PTSD statute does not require a compensation judge to conduct an independent assessment to verify that the diagnosis was indeed in conformity with the DSM before accepting the expert’s diagnosis. In short, nothing in the statute allowed or required a compensation judge’s legalistic analysis of the DSM-5 to become a substitute for the professional judgment of psychiatrists and psychologists.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Smith v. Carver County, 2019 Minn. LEXIS 381 (June 17, 2019)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 56.04.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see