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Is Too Much Stress or Developing a Mental Health Issue Covered By Workers’ Compensation?

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When first hearing the term worker’s comp, most people picture a physical injury like a back strain or chemical burn in association with the claim. However, it is possible that some people receive worker’s comp benefits because of a mental issue arising from the workplace. If you are considering filing a worker’s comp claim for a psychiatric issue, it is important to contact a California workers’ compensation attorney for legal advice. Worker’s comp claims can be complex to handle on your own, and claims of a psychiatric nature are notoriously hard to win without professional counsel.

Like all worker’s comp cases, documentation of an actual injury will need to be provided for the claim to be legitimate. When a worker is injured on the job, he or she needs to fill out a claim form and submit it along with a physician’s report. This process is no different for claims of a psychiatric nature. Though worker’s comp claims do not require anyone to be at fault to receive benefits, they do require thorough documentation. Mental health worker’s comp claims will need even more extensive documentation in addition to background investigations. This is why it is beneficial to hire competent counsel. An experienced attorney can tell you if your claim is eligible for compensation.

Examples of Mental Worker’s Comp Claims

Mental health complications from a job are hard to prove. The nature of mental health problems in general can be transient and hard to pin down, which is why mental health worker’s comp claims are often dismissed unless a competent attorney is assisting in the claim.

However, there are some claims more commonly seen in worker’s comp cases. For example, if you witnessed an injury or death of a coworker, and in turn suffered from mental trauma like PTSD, you are eligible for worker’s comp. If you suffer an injury which results in a state of depression or debilitating anxiety, you may be entitled to compensation. If you work in a notoriously stressful job, you may be able to get compensation if you are not properly trained and a mental health problem develops because of your work situation. To prove a mental health claim, there are several questions that will need to be answered. These include:

  • What is the nature of the mental health issue? Is it permanent?
  • Is the stress or mental health issue directly related to work? Can it be proved?
  • Was the stress which caused the mental health injury above the normal amount of stress for the job?
  • Was there a pre-existing mental health condition that was exacerbated due to work stress?

How Mental Health Worker’s Comp Claims Are Investigated

All people have some sort of stress level involved in their jobs, but occasionally, stress can become so bad it causes emotional breakdowns, physical complications, and even permanent impairment. In the state of California, employees can file worker’s comp claims for mental health issues, but only with extensive documentation. The employee must prove the workplace was more than 50% at fault for the stress related issues. To prove this, the physician’s report will be examined along with medical history, prior financial, personal, or family issues.

The state will also examine the employee’s work background, including work progress, satisfaction, coworker statements, and performance reviews. As you can see, filing a worker’s comp claim for mental health issues in CA can be an arduous process. If you have sustained a mental health injury or illness resulting from an incident at work, it’s important that you contact experienced California workers’ compensation attorneys to help you navigate through the extensive documentation and get you the compensation you need.