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Unseen scars: Workers’ compensation for psychological injuries

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

In California, workers’ compensation coverage extends beyond physical injuries. It can also cover psychiatric harm to address the severe toll certain jobs can take on employee mental health.

Unfortunately, it is challenging to prove psychiatric injuries. Many with potentially traumatizing issues go untreated because of the difficulty with psychiatric injury workers’ compensation claims.

The nursing industry – fraught with emotional challenges

Nurses must often work long hours, face life-and-death decisions and regularly confront the suffering of patients and their families. The emotional weight of these experiences can lead to burnout, depression and anxiety.

They may qualify as psychiatric injuries under California’s workers’ compensation laws.

Law enforcement officers – often in harm’s way

The cumulative effect of participating in life-threatening situations can manifest as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other conditions. Prolonged exposure to high-stress environments often leads to severe anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts.

These mental injuries may be compensable under state laws.

Emergency service workers – frequent observers of trauma

Firefighters and paramedics are often first on the scene of a tragedy. They must face the harrowing task of confronting the immediate consequences of accidents, fires or natural disasters. Exposure to traumatic events can cause psychological harm.

Emergency worker psychological suffering may be recognized as psychiatric injuries in California.

As you might expect, employees must demonstrate their psychiatric injury is primarily work-related to obtain workers’ comp benefits. Unfortunately, this burden of proof can be notably higher for mental injuries than for physical harm. 

Documentation from your mental health care providers can help to prove you deserve compensation for your emotional suffering. A legal representative can help you find sufficient evidence to prove your claim and guide you in filing an appeal if you receive a claim denial.

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