Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Mental Illness?

In California, if you suffer from an emotional or mental illness as a result of your job, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, it is crucial that you hire a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to handle your claim since employers and insurance companies are often skeptical of such claims and often deny them. With a fierce legal advocate on your side, it is possible to obtain the benefits you deserve despite their efforts to prevent it.

What You Should Know About Mental Illness and Workers’ Compensation

First, if you are filing for workers’ compensation for an emotional or mental illness, you will be expected to prove that the psychiatric injury you suffered is work-related. Oftentimes, these injuries are also referred to as a stress claim or a mental-mental claim. A psychiatric injury can force an employee to take time off from work and might even render them unable to perform certain job duties. For example, if an employee suffered a nervous breakdown after working to the point of exhaustion or experienced threats at work, his or her condition would likely qualify as a psychiatric injury and be covered by workers’ compensation.

California treats psychiatric injuries differently compared to other injuries, requiring more extensive proof in order for one to receive benefits. If you suffered a psychiatric injury, you would have to fulfill the following requirements to receive workers’ compensation benefits:

  1. You have a mental disorder that was diagnosed under accepted procedures
  2. As a result of your mental disorder, you required medical treatment or experienced disability and were unable to perform your work
  3. You worked for your employer for at least six months
  4. You must prove that the psychiatric injury was caused by “actual events of employment” and that these events were the primary cause

Actual employment events often prove to be the biggest obstacle in a claim. If you were anxious about your employer’s stock loss or downsizing, this likely will not count. If you experienced stress as a result of the workers’ compensation process itself, this would also likely not qualify you for any benefits.

Additionally, it is also possible for a physical injury at work to also result in a psychiatric injury at work. If you were the victim of a violent act at work or were otherwise exposed to workplace violence or the injury you sustained was catastrophic, you would be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits for the resulting psychiatric injury you suffered.

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Santa Ana

If you were injured on the job, regardless if it was psychiatric or physical, you have a right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. At Ufkes & Bright, our team of Santa Ana workers’ compensation attorneys has been fighting on behalf of injured workers for over 50 years and has a proven track record of success.

Get started on your workers’ compensation case today and reach out to our law firm at (714) 909-2609 to request your free initial case evaluation.

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