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Former UC Davis officer wins psychiatric workers’ comp claim

We wrote some time back about a former UC Davis police officer who filed a workers’ compensation claim, asserting that he suffered depression and anxiety as a result of backlash following an incident in which Occupy movement protestors were pepper sprayed back in 2011. The incident, as some readers will remember, caused quite a stir, as the police response was deemed unnecessary and punitive.

An online video of the incidents shows the officer spraying the demonstrators near their faces while they were seated on the ground and offering no resistance. Subsequently, an investigation was conducted and it was determined that the officer’s actions were inappropriate.

To settle a civil lawsuit connected to the incident, the UC system agreed to pay $30,000 to each of the 21 students and alumni who were sprayed during the protest.

The officer was fired last July after being placed on paid administrative leave for eight months. Sometime after that, he filed workers’ compensation claims. Now the University of California is being required to pay him $38,055 as part of a settlement.

A psychiatrist working in the case reportedly determined that the former officer’s disability was moderate, and noted that he was experiencing “significant emotional upheavals.”

As we’ve noted before, psychiatric claims can be tricky when it comes to workers’ compensation, because of the various requirements. To be approved, they must be fully supported and be subjected to the scrutiny the compensation insurer. When pursuing these claims, it can be helpful to work with a seasoned lawyer.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Former UC police officer in pepper spray case receives workers’ comp,” Larry Gordon, October 23, 2013.

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