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When might a worker have a psychiatric injury claim?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2023 | Workplace Injuries

Stress and anxiety are a common part of life for many people. However, excessive mental anguish could disable a person or otherwise interfere with regular daily activities.

When a California worker suffers psychiatric injuries due to time on a job, workers’ compensation might cover the damages. Circumstances dictate whether the insurance handles this type of harm.

The types of psychiatric injuries workers’ comp can cover

A psychiatric injury refers to mental or emotional harm. Applicable conditions include anxiety, major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Only employees with at least six months in a workplace can make a claim for psychiatric injuries.

The California Labor Code stipulates that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders must list the condition for which a person is applying for compensation. The sufferer’s job assignment must be at least 51% responsible for triggering the injury.

How to prove psychiatric injuries

A worker must demonstrate that the injury primarily resulted from the work environment or situation. The evidence must show direct causation between the disorder and working conditions. This standard differs from the guidelines for physical injuries, which only require the injured party to prove that the harm somehow relates to the workplace.

A worker also needs a clinical diagnosis of the psychiatric disorder from a licensed mental health professional. Symptoms must align with the criteria in the DSM-5. The claimant also needs detailed records of expenses that relate to medical treatment for the injury.

Psychiatric injury claims might get denied due to insufficient evidence or a lack of a proper diagnosis. Those individuals who want to receive approval for such a claim must ensure they have all of the necessary documentation to improve the odds of successfully receiving compensation.