Not all workplace injuries are physical.
In the state of California, mental and emotional injuries are covered under workers’ compensation laws. But because there are usually no objective physical findings to measure such injuries, they are much more difficult to prove. Even when a psychological condition is verified, proving that the cause stems from work rather than say, marriage troubles, is also challenging. For these reasons, mental and emotional claims are often met with skepticism and routinely denied.
Having a workers’ compensation lawyer on your side can make all the difference. At Gerald Brody & Associates in San Diego, we help hundreds of workers get the compensation they deserve every year, including those with claims for stress and psychiatric trauma caused at work.
The two main types of mental and emotional injury claims
A physical-mental injury claim is one in which a psychological or psychiatric condition is tied to a physical accident or illness at work. Some examples of physical-mental injuries include:
- Job-related stress or tension that contributes to a heart attack
- Anxiety disorder or PTSD following a traumatic physical injury
- Depression caused by the pain and debilitation of a back injury
A mental-mental injury claim is one in which a psychological or psychiatric condition is caused by anxiety, stress, or fear on the job. Some examples of mental-mental injuries include:
- An employee develops PTSD due to witnessing a tragic event at work
- A hostile work environment (e.g. cruel statements or threats) causes psychological trauma and fear
- An employee suffers a mental breakdown due to being overworked to the point of exhaustion
A worker who suffers from a work-related mental injury may be entitled to medical payments or temporary disability payments for taking time off work.
Requirements in the state of California
To file a claim for workers’ compensation psychiatric injuries in the state of California, the following requirements must be met:
- The worker must have a diagnosed mental condition that causes disability or the need for medical treatment
- The worker must have worked for the employer for at least six (not necessarily continuous) months
- The worker must prove that the working conditions were at least 51% responsible for the injuries
Mental/emotional injury claims require investigation into the personal life of the employee, including his/her:
- Family history
- Criminal background
- Mental health history
- Past or current drug use
- Other sensitive issues
Employers and insurance adjusters can be vicious with these kinds of claims, using any and everything they can find to deny you the benefits you’re entitled to. You need someone who will fight hard on your behalf. In other words, this is not something you’ll want to take on without the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer.
If you have suffered mental or emotional trauma at work and you think you have a psychiatric or psychological injury claim for workers’ compensation, call us at Gerald Brody & Associates. We fight for the rights of workers every single day. We’ll do everything we can to get you the compensation you deserve.