One question that is repeatedly asked of workers’ compensation attorneys is whether or not the inability to work due to stress is a valid claim. This is not an easy question to answer. Yes, stress claims are covered by workers’ compensation in a sense; stress by itself is not considered the injury. Stress is a symptom of what California Labor Law defines as a “psychiatric injury”, which has its own definitions as to whether or not a worker is entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim.
The labor code distinctly lists the criteria necessary for a psychiatric injury to be eligible for workers’ compensation. For most claims, the worker must have been employed for at least six months. Claims that arise from a traumatic event may not require injured workers to have been at the company for six months. Workers must show evidence that a significant portion of the psychiatric injury developed because of the job. If a claimant files for workers’ compensation after they stop working for the company, the evidence must show that the development of the injury was the main reason for the stress injury. Terminated workers also need to prove that the injury occurred while they were employed and that it was not specifically due to the result of being fired or laid off.
You can read the labor code regarding psychiatric injuries here.
Workers’ compensation stress claims are a real thing, though they do require special consideration. If you have been so stressed out from your job duties that you have missed work or have been diagnosed with a psychiatric injury by a mental health professional, it’s important to consult with a workers’ compensation law firm. Our work comp experts can help you determine if you have a potential claim for stress. For a free legal consultation, call us today at 888-517-9888.