Workers’ comp for emotional disturbance

| May 26, 2021 | Blog, Workers' Compensation

For a long time, workers’ compensation benefits have helped employees find some financial help for work-related bodily harm. Physical damage isn’t the only sort of pain a workplace can cause, though.

Psychological damage, which is serious and can be devastating, is another risk of certain jobs. Though some employers don’t take mental distress seriously, that doesn’t reduce the suffering of psychologically distressed workers. If the nature of your work has caused you emotional anguish, you might wonder whether you’re entitled to workers’ compensation.

Mental distress and workers’ comp

Workers’ comp exists to aid injured employees. Though it does not prevent accidents, the benefits might serve as a bandage to help employees get through the damage that they have already sustained.

In many places, statutes lack clarity concerning mental injury and workers’ comp. However, California is ahead of the game. The state does indeed have clearly defined laws establishing that work-related psychiatric damage might make you eligible for workers’ comp. California Labor Code § 3208.3 requires the following things for you to be eligible for workers’ comp:

  • A doctor must diagnose you with a mental disorder.
  • Your mental disorder requires medical treatment or causes disability.
  • You need to establish that your employment caused this mental disorder.
  • You worked for your employer for at least six months, or the event that caused the disorder was sudden and extreme.

Making your case

Some of the above points are easy to prove while others are more difficult to establish. For instance, it might be challenging to verify that your work — and not any other issue — was the source of your mental disorder. If you’ve acquired a work-related mental disorder, an attorney with experience in handling these types of claims might be able to help you determine what to do next.


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