California Workers’ Compensation Law recently changed to limit Injured Workers from claiming psychiatric permanent disability arising as a compensable consequence injury. For example, if an Injured Worker hurt their back lifting a box at work and, as a result of the back pain, developed a psychiatric depression, the permanent disability relating to the depression would not be considered as part of their permanent disability award. The claim for psychiatric permanent disability from that claim would be barred as it does not fit within the legislative exceptions.
This article will discuss the compensable consequence psychiatric permanent disability injury concerning catastrophic injuries.
The State of California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) propounded information for Employers concerning the prevention of work-related psychiatric injuries or psychiatric workers’ compensation claims. The Labor Code requires that Employers be provided information concerning psychiatric injury prevention programs when a claim has been filed against them. See Per Labor Code 3208.3 (i.)
Many Law Enforcement and Safety Personnel, while performing their usual and customary duties, encounter experiences which can trigger PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is a Psychiatric Disorder which most likely would give rise to a workers’ compensation claim of injury and trigger eligibility for benefits.
This article is intended to discuss PTSD and the interplay it has for Law Enforcement and Safety Personnel and their right to benefits under the workers’ compensation system.
“You Can’t Handle the Truth?”
In California Workers’ Compensation Law, Injured Workers who have emotional, stress or mental health claims may attend a Psychological Evaluation by a mental health practitioner for which a medical report is generated. Frequently, these reports contain language within them similar to this language:
“This psychiatric mental health report is confidential and privileged. This report is meant for the use of qualified professionals only and those with the need to know. If the applicant wishes to review this report, he or she should only review it under the supervision of a therapist or psychiatrist because the report may be easily misinterpreted by the applicant. Some individuals and family members may misunderstand and/or distort the information in this report. This may result in the significant psychological harm to the applicant or may interfere with treatment and recovery from illness. For individuals with self-destructive or violent tendencies, the consequences of disclosure of this report may be serious. Persons breaching the confidential nature of this report are acting against medical advice and assume any and all risks and liabilities of doing so.” Continue reading