STRESS-RELATED CLAIMS & CALIFORNIA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
EXPERIENCED CALIFORNIA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEY HELPING WORKERS GET BENEFITS FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL ILLNESS CAUSED BY WORKPLACE STRESS AND ANXIETY
Not all workplace injuries are purely physical. California law covers work-related injuries of all types, whether they are physical, psychological, or emotional. So long as your condition is truly tied to your work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Purely psychological conditions can be trickier to prove for workers’ compensation, however, so it is important to have a seasoned Southern California workers’ compensation attorney in your corner.
At Invictus Law, we have decades of experience helping California workers obtain compensation for all manner of workplace illness, including both the physical and non-physical. Mental illnesses are no less real than physical trauma. If your work situation has led to clinical stress, anxiety, depression, or other psychological and emotional conditions, you have the right to workers’ compensation coverage. The Orange County workers’ compensation legal team at Invictus Law is here to help.
Psychiatric Injuries Have Special Requirements
Purely psychological work injuries are often referred to as “stress claims” or “mental-mental claims” (as opposed to psychological conditions that result from a physical injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder). Psychological injuries may cause workers to take time off as they are unable to perform their work duties or communicate with others. This can happen, for example, if a person is regularly worked to exhaustion, or if they are subjected to constant threats in the workplace.
California workers’ comp does cover stress claims, but the rules are a little different. Psychological injuries are more difficult to diagnose, as they are more about the subjective mental experiences of the worker than a physically-detectable injury. An X-ray can show a broken bone, but it generally cannot show a stress-related psychological injury.
To qualify for workers’ comp benefits for a stress-related, purely psychological injury, the worker must satisfy additional requirements, including the following:
- The worker suffers from a specific psychiatric condition outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).
- The worker can show the actual circumstances of their employment “predominantly” (at least 51 percent) led to the identified psychiatric condition. The standard is lower if the worker experienced violence at work.
- Personnel actions taken in good faith (for example, reasonable criticism of an employee’s performance, attendance, or punctuality, or a reasonable decision concerning a raise or promotion) are not the cause of the condition.
- The process of litigation itself did not cause the condition.
- As a result of the condition, the worker has required medical treatment or experienced disability (e., inability to work partially or in full).
- The worker has worked for that employer for at least six months.
Note that “stress,” standalone, is not a psychiatric condition. Stress may, however, be a symptom or byproduct of other diagnosable conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or clinical depression. If you have experienced significant stress in the workplace, to the point that you are unable to perform some or all of your job duties, reach out to a seasoned workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your circumstances. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation coverage, even if you were terminated from your position.
The Doctor’s Note
In addition to the requirements outlined above, a worker claiming psychological injury must have detailed testimony from a physician supporting their workers’ compensation claim. The diagnosis must be supported by the patient’s health history, job history, job satisfaction, workplace conditions, and other factors. The physician’s testimony should be supported by medical records, statements from co-workers, family, friends, test data, and other evidence.
GET HELP WITH WORKPLACE STRESS AND ANXIETY CLAIMS IN ORANGE COUNTY AND THE INLAND EMPIRE FROM A DEDICATED CALIFORNIA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEY
For help getting the care and compensation you need in connection with your workplace stress or other emotional condition in Orange County or the Inland Empire, call Invictus Law, P.C., in Orange or Ontario at 949-287-5711 or 888-9-WORKLAW for a free consultation with an experienced, talented, and compassionate California workers’ compensation lawyer.