Recovering for Mental and Emotional Injuries at Work

BY: Koszdin | Wednesday, May 16, 2018.

Any workplace can be a stressful place. But, when your work causes severe mental and emotional damage that is beyond the typical stressors of day-to-day work, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits under California law.

You should speak with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney if you feel like your work is causing severe mental or emotional distress. He or she will be able to walk you through your options for medical care and lost wage benefits. You don’t have to go through this difficult time alone.

When Can I Recover for Mental Distress from Work?

A mental or emotional injury is covered under California workers’ compensation law when you can show two major factors:

  • You have a diagnosed mental disorder that has caused the disability or a need for treatment
  • Your condition is the result of your work environment

You must show that events at work were the “predominant cause” of your psychological condition. The term “predominant cause” generally means that it was 51% due to your working life. It doesn’t have to be the only cause, but it should be the main reason you have suffered mental harm.

You must have also worked for your employer for at least six months before you can make a mental health claim under workers’ compensation. However, this requirement may not apply if you experienced a sudden, extraordinary condition that is not part of your regular job.

Layoffs that affect at least 35% of the workforce will generally not be enough to trigger a mental health claim. In fact, any type of job termination notice will usually not be enough to get workers’ compensation benefits.

Your Health History in a Mental Injury Case

Your health history is at issue in any type of workers’ compensation case. However, in a psychiatric injury case, your mental health before working with the employer will be a big focus.

Your workers’ comp claim must be supported by a doctor’s testimony. That physician should be able to state with virtual certainty that your job caused or aggravated your mental health condition. The only way that the doctor can do this is to be familiar with your background. This familiarity could be gained through:

  • Regular interaction with you because of prior treatment
  • Developmental history
  • Co-worker statements or testimony
  • Military and academic records
  • Psychological testing results
  • Interviews with family members

Claims for mental injuries will dive deep into your mental health history, which can be uncomfortable or embarrassing for some workers. Keep in mind, however, that this must be done to get the compensation that you deserve after this type of damage. It is harder to verify mental injuries compared to physical damage, and this investigation is all part of the verification process.

Proving a mental health claim under workers’ compensation can be difficult, but it is certainly not impossible. The Los Angeles workers’ comp lawyers at Koszdin, Fields & Sherry can help you examine your situation to determine if a mental health claim might be the right option for you. We can also assist in gathering evidence and information to prove your case. Call today for details: 818-812-5639.

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