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Is Mental Illness Considered a Work Injury?

In California, mental illness can be considered a work injury in certain cases. The state's Workers' Compensation Act recognizes mental and psychiatric injuries as compensable when there is medical evidence linking the mental disorder to workplace events and/or conditions.

This means that if an employee suffers from a mental or psychiatric injury caused by their job, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits such as medical care, disability payments, and other forms of compensation depending on their situation.

Qualifying for Workers’ Comp Due to Mental Illness

To qualify for mental illness coverage under the law, however, the mental disorder must be "caused by extraordinary working conditions.” This typically means something beyond the normal pressures associated with any particular job. Furthermore, it must result in a mental condition that is medically diagnosable and objectively verifiable, such as depression or anxiety.

It’s important to note that mental disorders caused by discrimination, harassment, disciplinary actions, or other non-work-related events are not generally covered under the law. Additionally, mental conditions stemming from personal issues unrelated to work, such as a death in the family or financial troubles, are also typically not considered eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Consult with a Lawyer to Learn More

For more information about mental illness coverage under the state's Workers' Compensation Act, it’s best to seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney. Workers’ comp claims for mental illness and psychiatric injuries are relatively new, and it may require an experienced legal professional to help you secure the benefits you need most right now.

Schedule a consultation with Smolich and Smolich to learn more about how we can help.