You may assume that you can only obtain workers’ compensation when you’ve suffered a physical injury. However, you can also obtain benefits due to depression in the workplace.
According to California compensation laws, mental and emotional injuries that occur at work—or due to the work environment—are covered. Keep in mind, these types of injuries are typically treated with immense skepticism from insurance companies and are frequently denied since it can be difficult proving these conditions.
For instance, psychiatric injuries are not treated in the same manner as physical injuries. First, the source of psychological injuries is an employee’s internal experience, as opposed to objective measures such as an x-ray or a blood test, which can make it more difficult to determine that an injury actually happened. Second, psychological injuries can have many causes that include reasons not related to job duties.
In order to file a workers’ compensation claim in California for psychiatric injuries, all of the following requirements need to be met:
- The employee needs to have a diagnosed mental condition which causes disability or requires medical treatment.
- The employee needs to have worked for the employer for at least six months.
- The employee needs to prove that the injuries most likely caused by the work environment.
The last requirement is often the most difficult. The worker needs to prove that the working conditions were at least 51% responsible for the injuries.
Benefits are often more limited in these cases. While an employee who suffers from a work-related mental injury may be entitled to medical payments or temporary disability payments for taking time off work, those who need permanent disability benefits are difficult to recover.