Can you seek workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress?
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Can you seek workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress?

On Behalf of | Oct 23, 2020 | Workers compensation

Workers’ compensation insurance helps protect people who work for a living from going into debt or permanently losing their income because they have done a job. Those who get hurt while working or who develop occupational illnesses can receive total coverage for their medical costs and at least a portion of their wages and benefits.

However, not everyone who gets hurt on the job suffers a dramatic physical injury, like a fall. Many times, the harm a job can do may be psychological rather than physical. As an employee in California, do you have the right to seek workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress (PTSD) if you witnessed something terrible or experienced violence on the job?

Your condition has to impact your ability to work

California does have relatively through workers’ compensation and employee protection laws. Some states will not approve workers’ compensation claims for mental health-related conditions, but California can and does approve such claims.

The condition itself will have to be disabling to qualify. PTSD is a condition that can make it hard for people to work near others or return to an environment that reminds them of their trauma. PTSD symptoms could prevent you from going back to work or even from leaving the house. The greater the impact of your condition, the better your chances of securing benefits.

Mental health applicants need to show the issue stems from their work

Provided that the applicant can show that the condition and the symptoms it produces are at least 50% the direct result of their job, they may be able to qualify for benefits. For example, if you’ve received a diagnosis of PTSD after getting into a crash while driving for work or witnessing a murder while on your job, you would potentially have a valid claim for benefits.

California also protects the rights of first responders with PTSD

Recently, the state passed a law that specifically aims to protect first responders like police officers and firefighters who develop PTSD because of their jobs. First responders are high on the list of professionals who might develop PTSD because of the work that they do.

Firefighters, police officers and anyone subject to trauma in the workplace may need help in order to build a viable claim for PTSD-related workers’ compensation benefits.