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Can I Get Workers’ Compensation for PTSD and other Psychological Injuries?

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

Santa Clara County workers compensation attorney

When most people think of workers’ compensation claims, they picture a worker suffering from a broken leg or a back injury. While physical injuries do make up the majority of workers’ compensation claims in California, many workers also suffer from psychiatric injuries caused by traumatizing work incidents. Firefighters, police officers, and other first responders are at an especially high risk of psychological injuries. These workers are often witness to extremely upsetting situations involving gruesome injuries, death, and other tragedies. However, psychological injuries can occur to workers in any profession.

California Workers’ Compensation Law Regarding Emotional or Psychological Harm

Employers in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employees who suffer an on-the-job injury are typically entitled to compensation for medical bills and a portion of their lost income. California workers’ compensation covers physical injuries as well as certain work-related emotional and psychological injuries.

According to California law, a worker is entitled to workers’ compensation for an emotional or psychological injury if:

  • A medical professional diagnoses the worker with a mental health condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression.

  • The worker requires medical treatment because of the mental health condition.

  • The worker has been employed for at least six months (except for cases involving sudden and unexpected traumatic events).

  • Employment is the “predominant” cause of the mental health condition.

Unique Issues Involved in Psychological Injury Workers’ Compensation Claims

Although California workers are entitled to workers’ compensation for mental health conditions caused by work, workers’ compensation claims involving psychological injuries are often subject to added hurdles. Many workers suffering from mental health conditions do not file a claim because they are hesitant to report and seek treatment for the condition. Although millions of Americans suffer from mental health disorders, there is still a substantial amount of stigma surrounding mental health conditions.

Workers’ compensation claims for psychological injuries are also frequently denied. The insurance company may claim that the worker’s mental health condition preexisted employment or that the worker’s personal life circumstances are the predominant cause of the condition. Nevertheless, workers who meet the criteria established by the California labor code are entitled to compensation by law. A workers’ compensation lawyer who knows the unique issues involved in psychological injury claims can help an injured worker fight for the workers’ compensation benefits he or she deserves.

Contact a Santa Clara Psychological Injury Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you have suffered negative psychological effects because of a work incident, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. A knowledgeable Gilroy workers’ compensation attorney from Cramer & Martinez, LLP can help you understand if you qualify for workers’ compensation, file a claim on your behalf, appeal a workers’ compensation denial, and stand up for your rights. Call our office today at 408-848-1113 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

 

Source:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=LAB&sectionNum=3208.3.

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