Have you suffered an on-the-job injury that jeopardizes your ability to earn enough to take proper care of your family? Maybe you witnessed a co-worker die after suffering a traumatic workplace injury. Many circumstances at work could lead to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Although work-related stress and depression are compensable under the California workers' compensation insurance system, many employers resist authorizing such claims, which could even exacerbate your depression. As with any other injury, as long as a workplace accident or conditions at work caused it, you can likely claim benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages.
Job-related anxiety and depression is real
Other than physical injuries that are visible, psychological workplace injuries are hidden deep inside, and victims typically want to keep them hidden. For that reason, your employer might not recognize your state of depression as a real job-related injury. However, the workers' compensation system does, and categorizes depression as follows:
- Secondary job-related depression: This category might be the easier one to motivate. Your depression, anxiety or PTSD must follow a personal physical workplace injury to qualify for workers' compensation benefits. This could involve a traumatic injury that you suffered while you were on duty, or while doing jobs that are not part of your normal duties but ordered by your employer. Also, if your employer's negligence caused the injury that led to your psychological state, your claim will fall in this category.
- Primary job-related depression: If your anxiety or depression resulted from an incident, or series of incidents, that occurred at work, such as sexual harassment, bullying or other happenings, it would fall in this category. This will also apply if you developed PTSD after witnessing a horrific workplace accident. When it comes to claiming workers' compensation benefits for a psychological injury, it might be more challenging to prove that work-related circumstances caused your condition than with a physical injury such as a broken bone or a burn injury.
Understanding your rights
Before you are ready to pursue financial relief to help you cope with the consequences of your psychological condition, you will have to admit you have a problem, even if you hate to do that. It can only escalate if left untreated, and treatment can be costly. For that reason, it is essential that you gain knowledge about your rights under the California workers' compensation insurance laws.
Fortunately, you will not have to navigate this challenge on your own because resources are available to provide the necessary support and guidance you need every step of the way.