The term ‘work injury’ is generally associated with physical injuries sustained by workers on the job. However, California is one of the few states that have adopted a much broader definition of the term – which includes psychological disabilities as well.
What is a Psychological Disability?
A psychological disability – also referred to as a psychiatric injury – is a mental disorder which is caused as a result of working conditions and requires medical treatment. Psychological disabilities can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Excessive workload, unreasonably short deadlines, and next-to-impossible targets
- Harassment and abuse in the workplace
- Witnessing or being exposed to a violent act in the workplace
How Psychological Disabilities Can Affect Workers
Research shows that mental health problems can take a toll on a worker’s performance, productivity, and their overall health and wellbeing. If not treated in a timely manner, mental disorders can reduce a worker’s cognitive performance by as much as 35%.
The drastic drop in productivity and performance can make it harder for the worker to compete with their coworkers and stay on top of the tasks assigned to them.
What Are The Criteria to be Met For a Psychiatric Injury Claim?
- You must have been employed at your current workplace for a period of at least six months. It does not necessarily have to be six months of continuous employment. Even short stints of employment over a period of time are applicable – as long as they add up to six months and under the same employer.
- The event of employment or adverse working condition in question must have been the predominant cause (at least 51%) of your mental health problem.
- The condition you are suffering from must be listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM – IV).
It should be noted that the predominant cause provision (51% rule) listed above does not apply to psychological disabilities caused as a result of a violent event or act at the workplace. In such cases, the worker only needs to prove that the violent act or event in question was one of the contributing factors (35% to 40%) to their mental health problem.
Importance of Choosing The Right Attorney to Handle Psychological Disability Claims
The eligibility criteria for a psychiatric injury claim are much stricter compared to that of a physical injury claim. Your employer will argue that the actions that caused your psychiatric injury were in fact good faith personnel actions and were not abusive or discriminatory in nature.
The insurance company, on the other hand, will dig into your personal life and try to find any information that can be used to counter or disprove your psychological disabilities claim. A skilled and experienced California workers’ compensation attorney can take on the insurance company’s legal team, prove that your psychiatric injury was caused as a result of adverse working conditions, and make sure your claim meets all the aforementioned criteria.
Looking to File a Claim for Psychological Disabilities? We Can Help You!
With his unmatched legal knowledge, experience, and resources, attorney Thomas F. Martin can provide you with high-quality, passionate legal representation and fight hard to recover the compensation you deserve. To explore your legal options, call us today at 714-547-5025 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Handling your own workers’ compensation claim can be a daunting task – to put it mildly. The insurance company – and even your employer in many cases – might try to impede the claims process or deny your claim altogether – based on the flimsiest of reasons. This is why it is important for you to be represented and guided by a skilled California workers’ compensation lawyer.
In this article, we take a look at three things an experienced work injury lawyer should be able to offer you.
1. Personalized Legal Advice
It goes without saying that not every workers’ compensation claim is the same. Two workers who have suffered the exact same injury could be treated differently by their employer and the insurance company – depending on the circumstances under which the accident happened and various other factors.
So, the California workers’ compensation lawyer who represents you should be able to take your unique circumstances into account and offer you personalized legal advice at every step of the claims process.
2. Aggressive Representation at The Negotiation Table
Ask anyone who has ever filed a workers’ comp claim and they will tell you that insurance adjusters are among the shrewdest, most aggressive people you will ever meet. This is because the adjuster represents the insurance company and is paid to do whatever they can to reduce the value of your claim – or deny it outright in some cases – to the highest extent possible. The less they pay you, the more money the insurance company can save.
This is why the workers’ compensation lawyer who represents you should be equally aggressive and should be willing to stand up to the insurance company. They should not be afraid to call the insurance adjuster’s bluff if the compensation offered is too low and should not shy away from taking your case to trial – if that is what it takes to get you the compensation you are entitled to.
3. Passionate Representation in Court
While a vast majority of workers’ comp claims are settled out of court, some claims do make it to an administrative hearing or trial. If and when it happens, the California workers’ compensation lawyer who represents you should be able to fight it out in court and recover the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
A highly experienced attorney should be able to prepare the documentary evidence to support your claim, take depositions of witnesses, file pre-trial motions and petitions as and when needed, and make compelling arguments at the trial to get the compensation you deserve.
Call Thomas F. Martin, California’s Premier Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Attorney Thomas F. Martin has been fighting for the rights and interests of injured workers in California for more than 25 years. Rated as one of the best work injury lawyers in California by his peers as well as his clients, Mr. Martin has a track record that few other attorneys can boast of.
Attorney Thomas F. Martin only handles workers’ comp claims and takes a personal interest in each and every claim he handles. As a result, he is able to get results that most other work injury attorneys might not be able to.
Talk to us today at 714-547-5025 or reach us online to request a free and confidential consultation.
California is consistently ranked as one of the most labor-friendly states in the country. Yet its workers’ compensation system remains so complicated that many workers find it difficult to get the benefits they need in a timely manner. What makes it so difficult to get workers’ compensation in California? Let us take a look.
Slow to Respond, Slow to Compensate
One of the biggest problems with California’s workers’ compensation system is that it is too slow to respond to the needs of injured workers. Injured workers are often made to wait for months – even years in some cases – before they can get the treatment and compensation they need.
The primary reason for the delay in getting workers’ compensation in California – according to the findings of a recently-conducted state audit – is the lack of qualified physicians within the system. Data shows that California has not increased the pay for qualified medical evaluators – who play a vital role in the workers’ compensation system – for more than 13 years.
The audit shows that between 2017 and 2018, California’s workers’ compensation program had a total of 2,800 medical evaluators. The total number of medical evaluation requests from injured workers during the same period of time, on the other hand, was over 100,000.
Hard to Navigate
Yet another reason why it is difficult to get workers’ compensation in California in a timely manner is that the system is hard to navigate for the average worker. The reason – according to experts – is that the people running the system are more concerned about procedural requirements and less concerned with the outcome. They have almost forgotten that their primary duty is to help the injured worker get better – not to delay the process for the flimsiest of reasons.
The Unintended Consequences of Delayed Care And Compensation
One of the most serious consequences of delayed care and compensation is that it increases the risk of permanent disabilities in injured workers. Especially, workers who suffer brain or spinal cord injuries cannot afford to wait for long, as the risk of permanent disability is extremely high in such cases.
How an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help You
One of the best ways to expedite your claims process is to hire an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney who can guide you through the process and help you get the medical care and compensation you need.
An experienced attorney can easily spot the pitfalls and obstacles that can delay your claims process and take steps to expedite it to the highest extent possible. They can also make sure that you are not unfairly denied any of the rights and benefits you are entitled to under the law.
Looking to File for Workers’ Compensation in California? We Can Help You!
For over 25 years, attorney Thomas F. Martin has been providing high-quality, passionate legal representation for injured workers in California. Recognized as one of the best workers’ compensation attorneys in California, Mr. Martin has represented thousands of injured workers over the years and helped them get the compensation they deserve.
If you have suffered an injury on the job and are in need of a lawyer whom you can trust and rely on, attorney Thomas F. Martin is the right choice for you. To know how we can help maximize your workers’ compensation in California, call us at 714-547-5025 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
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Picture credit: https://newint.org/features/2019/01/07/trade-turmoil-chance-justice
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