Saturday, May 25, 2019
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Can I Get Workers Compensation for Depression?

While our Santa Barbara workers compensation attorney team primarily get workers compensation cases dealing with physical injuries, that is not the only type of injuries we cover. Workers compensation covers a broad range of injuries, including mental and emotional suffering such as that related to depression and anxiety. So if during the course of your employment, something has occurred to cause a depressive state or aggravated a pre-existing depression-related condition, then you may be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. Here’s what you need to know:

Understanding How Depression Sufferers Can Get Worker’s Compensation Benefits

Today, the medical community has made it clear that depression is a very real and serious mental state with its own mental and physical consequences that should be taken as seriously as a physical injury. Thanks to advocates and leaders in the medical and legal community, the law has evolved to allow many depression sufferers to be eligible for full worker’s compensation benefits.

Physical Injuries & Non-Physical Injuries Can Lead to Depression

The most common type of case we see related to depression and workers compensation is depression following a physical injury. For example, an employee who breaks their leg in a workplace accident may suffer from chronic depression even after the physical injury has been healed.

Additionally, a worker may suffer depression following a workplace event in which they were not physically injured. A notable example of this is the recent case of the UC Davis ‘pepper spray cop’ who suffered severe depression and anxiety after a public backlash following the actions he took during the course and scope of his employment. He was recently awarded $38,000 in workers compensation related to that fallout.

The Medical & Legal Causation for Depression Not Related to Physical Injuries

If you suffer from depression or anxiety from a workplace event or situation that is not related to a physical injury, then the courts will require some sort of proof. Our Santa Barbara workers compensation attorney team will help our clients establish that via:

  • Medical Causation, which is often done by obtaining an evaluation by a psychiatrist or similar doctor who asserts that the depression has been either caused or aggravated by workplaces situations or events
  • Legal Causation, every state has a set burden of proof that must be met for psychological injuries like depression. In California, the injuries must have been very likelycaused by the work environment. Additionally, employees must have been at their job for a minimum of six months and be undergoing treatment for their depression at the time of the claim.

Contact Us to Learn More

For more information about obtaining workers compensation related to depression or anxiety, visit our Santa Barbara workers compensation page and contact us to set up a free consultation.