What If My Physical Injury at Work Triggers Anxiety and Depression?
Workplace accidents commonly result in physical injuries that cause workers to suffer from debilitating pain and movement limitations. However, some workers also experience severe psychological distress because of their physical condition.
The California law thus allows employees to claim workers’ compensation for workplace psychiatric injuries. You only have to remember some unique qualifications when claiming benefits, as psychological injuries are challenging to prove.
So, read on for a quick guide on claiming workers’ comp for psychological conditions triggered by workplace physical injuries.
Workers’ Compensation for Psychiatric Conditions Triggered by Workplace Injuries
The workers’ comp system generally considers psychiatric conditions caused by physical injuries as “compensable consequence” injuries. These are health conditions arising from a work-related injury, even if the workplace accident isn’t its direct cause.
For example, suppose a workplace machine accidentally amputated your arm. You then experience depression after a few weeks as you become significantly frustrated with your disability.
While the workplace accident didn’t cause your depression, you may still claim benefits as it’s a compensable consequence of your arm amputation.
In this case, workers’ comp will cover:
- Medical expenses
- Psychiatric treatment costs
- Lost wages
The compensation may also cover permanent disability benefits if you were a victim of:
- A catastrophic workplace accident, like sustaining severe burns after being caught in a workplace chemical explosion
- Severe workplace violence
Consulting a Burbank workers’ compensation lawyer will help determine the psychiatric injury benefits you deserve.
Proving Work-Related Psychiatric Injuries
Psychiatric injuries are challenging to prove as they don’t appear in laboratory test results. The law thus requires you to meet a few requirements when proving work-related psychological distress:
1. Proper Diagnosis
You should prove you are suffering from psychological distress by getting a diagnosis from an acceptable method. You must thus consult a psychiatrist and secure a psychiatric report confirming your condition.
2. You Have a Debilitating Psychological Condition
You should also prove that your psychological injury reduces your quality of life and prevents you from performing different tasks. For example, your depression should be severe enough and prevent you from returning to work.
It’s thus vital to keep a journal detailing your daily experiences and emotions. You may also collect witness statements from your family, friends, or coworkers, proving your condition.
Moreover, keep a copy of your prescription and medication receipts to prove you are undergoing treatment.
3. Employment Period
Workers can generally claim psychological injury benefits if:
- Their condition developed from work-related factors like workplace discrimination and exhaustion
- They’ve been working under their current employer for at least six months
However, you may claim compensation if you sustained psychological problems from an extraordinary event, even if you were new in the workplace. That includes suffering from depression or anxiety because of a workplace physical injury.
4. Work-Related Factors Significantly Caused Your Condition
Psychological injuries may occur as a combination of work-related and non-work-related factors. For example, you may experience depression because of a workplace accident along with personal financial problems.
You should thus prove that workplace factors predominantly cause your psychological problem, accounting for at least 51% of all factors triggering your condition.
Consult your psychiatrist to help you prove this point.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Burbank for Claiming Psychiatric Injury Benefits
While claiming workers’ compensation for psychological injuries is challenging, that shouldn’t stop you from getting your deserved benefits. It can help handle your debilitating condition as you don’t have to worry about paying for your medical and psychiatric treatments to recover.
A Burbank workers’ compensation lawyer will help you handle the complexities of claiming psychiatric injury benefits and win your case.