Recent changes in California’s workers’ compensation laws have been cheered by some professionals for saving the state money, cutting overall increases in workers’ compensation insurance rates and improving benefits for long-term disabilities. However, some in the state’s medical and legal communities are concerned that the changes will decrease the mental health benefits available under workers’ compensation.
Currently, workers’ compensation benefits are available for both physical and psychological injuries caused by an on-the-job accident or illness. Under the recent changes, however, workers’ compensation benefits will no longer be available for mental health problems that are secondary to a physical injury.
Coverage for the initial physical injury, including long-term disability benefits, is still available. However, coverage for psychological conditions like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorders would not be available if these conditions result from the physical injury, instead of from the accident. For instance, a worker who loses a hand in a machine accident may have coverage for the amputation injury, but not for depression that results from no longer being able to participate in a beloved hobby due to the loss of the hand.
Critics of this change say that it represents a huge backwards step in workers’ compensation coverage. Covering physical injuries but not resulting mental health conditions does not adequately cover all the harms caused by the workplace incident.
At the Kenton Koszdin Law Office, our focused southern California workers’ compensation claim attorneys can help you determine which benefits you qualify for and get the full benefits amount to which you are entitled. Call us today at (800) 438-7734 for a free, confidential consultation.