Workers Comp for Psychiatric Injuries Lawyers Long Beach

Psychiatric injuries or illnesses are among the least understood types of workers compensation claims. Employers can “see” and understand physical injuries. Broken bones, etc. are visible with x-rays, etc. But a mental injury is often more difficult for employers to accept as a legitimate condition for a workers compensation claim.

Under California Labor Code 3208.3, to qualify for compensation benefits, a psychiatric injury must meet the following requirements:
1. The employee must have at least six months of work history with the employer.
2. The psychiatric condition must be listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association.
3. The employee must prove that actual employment events are the primary cause (51 percent or more) of the psychiatric condition.

Two Types of Psychiatric Workers’ Comp Claims Lawyers Long Beach

Psychological and mental injuries fall into one of two categories under California Workers’ Comp law:

1. “Mental-Physical Claims” – These are psychiatric injuries that occur as a result of a physical pain, diminished functional ability, or the loss of a profession related to a work-related injury.

2. ”Mental-Mental Claims” – These do not involve a physical injury and may be caused by a traumatic or violent event, including: witnessing or experiencing a violence, crime; experiencing threats of physical or sexual abuse at work; and, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Generally speaking, our experienced California Workers Compensation lawyers have seen that “Mental-Physical” claims are easier to “prove” and more likely to qualify for Workers’ Comp than “Mental-Mental” injuries. This goes back to our previous point: that employers as well as examiners can “see” a physical injury, while a purely mental injury most often can only be subjectively proven.

Proving Psychiatric Workers’ Comp Claims Lawyers Long Beach

Just as with a work-related physicl injury, you (or your Workers’ Comp lawyer) need to “prove” that the psychological injury is in fact the result of your employment and not caused by something else. Sufficient medical records and documentation have to be provided and typically a very detailed investigation will be conducted to examine the claimants’ past medical history and any other non-work related factors that could reveal the cause of the employee’s mental injury or illness.

For example, if it is determined that an employee has had schizophrenia since she was a teenager, and has been treated on and off over the years, it is extremely unlikely that Workers Compensation will be approved for this condition. However, using a different example, an employee who suffered a traumatic physical injury at work – and then later developed Post-traumatic Stress Disorder as a result – would likely be able to qualify for Workers Comp for the PTSD . . . even if the original physical injury had healed.

Excluded Psychiatric Workers’ Comp Claims in California Lawyers Long Beach

Certain psychiatric conditions are generally excluded from being covered under California Workers Compensation law. These include:

1. Psychiatric conditions that were the result of “good faith and non-discriminatory” actions by other work personnel. Example: Anxiety resulting from “good faith, non-discriminatory” changes in work assignments, or a decision that are made about raises or promotions.
2. Psychiatric conditions that are the result of the litigation.
3. Psychiatric conditions that are the result of stress caused by termination (firing) or notice of termination. (Possible exception: An employer who knew about the employee’s psychological injury or treatment prior to the termination.)

Additionally, if you worked for your employer for less than two years, you will also have a more difficult time proving your claim. (Exception: if it is due to a sudden violent event in the work place). 

Workers Comp claims resulting from work-induced stress, are also extremely hard to win without an experienced workers’ comp lawyer – because it is a fact of being employed that most people experience stress in the workplace to a fair extent. Generally, it must be shown that a stress related mental injury was the result of abnormal work conditions in order to qualify for Workers Comp based on stress.

Winning a Psychiatric Workers Comp Claim Lawyers Long Beach

Our experienced Long Beach Workers Compensation lawyers have found that – without an attorney – the vast majority of psychological Workers Compensation claims are denied. To try and disprove the claim, the Workers Comp insurance company who is responsible for paying the claim will heavily scrutinized every aspect of the injured worker’s life, including: any mental health treatment history; relationships with spouse(s), children & parents; criminal records & litigation history (if any); financial situation & bankruptcies; and more.

Our Long Beach Workers Comp Lawyers Can Help

If you are operating under a cognitive disability that affects your ability to think, organize or effectively express yourself, hiring an experienced Workers Compensation lawyer is usually the best way to make sure that you present the best possible case. If you are mentally ill or cognitively or psychologically disabled and are considering filing a Workers Comp Claim, our experienced Long Beach Workers Compensation lawyers can help make the process easier and faster for you. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Orange County Workers Compensation lawyer.

Also keep in mind that if you have suffered a severe mental impairment that prevents you from going back to work, you may still qualify for Social Security Disability based on your mental condition – even if your Workers Comp claim is denied. Generally it is easier or more appropriate to collect Social Security Disability for your mental illness or injury. This is because Social Security Disability cases DO NOT require you to prove that the mental illness or injury is work related, like Workers Comp cases do. Our experienced disability lawyers can help you evaluate all of your Workers Comp and Social Security Disability options.