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Are psychological workplace injuries covered by workers' comp?

Employees in San Diego who are employed in high-risk jobs may frequently experience anxiety over the welfare of their families if something should happen that would prevent them from returning to work. They would likely find comfort in knowing that the workers' compensation system will provide financial relief if they happen to suffer physical workplace injuries. However, confusion might exist about coverage for psychological conditions caused by occupational stress, anxiety and emotional distress.

To determine eligibility for workers' compensation benefits, the cause of the psychological condition -- as with physical injuries -- must be work-related. The cause need not be something that happened in the workplace, but if it happened elsewhere, it must have been in the course of the victims employment. Examples include firefighters, paramedics and police officers who handle traumatic and stressful situations multiple times every day. Many of these workers suffer PTSD, depression and other mental conditions. If the worker can prove that workplace conditions caused it, even alcoholism might be covered by the insurance provider -- the same will apply if employment circumstances exacerbate a pre-existing condition.

One other requirement for eligibility for workers' compensation benefits is the need to be classified as an employee. In some cases, independent contractors are not eligible, and the same might apply to undocumented workers, seasonal workers, nannies, baby sitters and housekeepers. However, there might be exceptions to exclusions.

Workers in San Diego who have questions about their eligibility for insurance benefits to cover psychological workplace injuries can get answers from an experienced workers' compensation attorney. A lawyer can assess the circumstances and examine the employees work classification. If benefits can be claimed, the attorney can navigate the claims process on behalf of the employee.

Source: FindLaw, "Does Workers' Comp Cover Mental Health?", Christopher Coble, May 31, 2018

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