Workers’ Compensation for Workplace Psychological Injuries
Many physical injuries can result in psychological injuries for which you may be entitled to receive compensation. An injury that is particularly painful or traumatic, such as a burn injury, can cause depression, sleep disorders, and mood changes, all of which can impair one’s ability to function in daily life. At the Law Offices of Sef Krell in Encino, our workers’ compensation attorneys fight to see that you are fully compensated for all of the injuries and expenses which arise out of a Southern California workplace accident or injury.
Psychological injuries must meet a higher threshold in California Workers’ Compensation
The California Workers’ Compensation system recognizes that psychiatric or psychological injury can be brought about in the workplace. However, the California legislature has made it clear that workers must meet a higher threshold to be compensated for a psychological injury as compared to a physical injury.
California Labor Code 3208.3 describes the elements of a compensable psychiatric injury. In most cases, the employee must have at least a six month work history with the employer. Also, there must be an official diagnosis of a mental disorder which causes a disability or the need for medical treatment. In addition, the employee must prove that “actual events of employment” were the major causes of the injury.
Must there be a physical injury?
Most psychological injury cases arise out of a physical injury on the job that also causes psychological injury. However, there are a few instances where the injury may be purely psychological and still be payable under Workers’ Compensation. One such instance is where the worker is a victim of a violent act or is directly exposed to a sudden, significant violent act in the workplace. Psychological injury brought about by sexual harassment may also be compensable, although injuries attributed to “lawful, nondiscriminatory, good faith personnel actions” are not. While some “purely mental” claims are valid, they are usually more difficult to recover on than “physical-mental” claims where the psychological injury is brought on by a physical injury.
Seek Experienced Legal Representation with Your Psychological Injury Claim
Claims for psychological injury are scrutinized more carefully and denied more often than purely physical injury claims. If your Workers’ Compensation case has a significant mental, psychiatric or psychological component, contact an experienced California Workers’ Compensation attorney at the outset to improve your chances of a successful recovery. In Los Angeles and Southern California, contact the Law Offices of Sef Krell for assistance.