Psychiatric Injuries: How Being A Victim Or Witness Of Violent Events At Work Entitle You To Workers Comp

Law Offices Of Kropach & Kropach

Did you know that you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits if you suffered psychiatric or stress-related injuries caused by a violent event at work?

What is considered a “violent event” under California’s workers compensation laws? And how a psychiatric injury that is caused by a violent event is different from any other psychiatric injury?

These are the questions we asked our Los Angeles stress-related injury attorney William Kropach. Turns out, you can obtain workers comp benefits for being a victim or witness of a “violent event” in the workplace, and the causation standard for proving your stress-related or psychiatric injury is much lower than that of an ordinary psychiatric injury.

Causation standard for psychiatric injuries at work

In case you suffered an ordinary psychiatric injury at work – not caused by a violent event in the workplace – you will have to prove that the injury was predominantly caused by the actual violent event in the workplace (at least 51 percent). If the psychiatric injury is triggered by a violent event, on the other hand, the causation threshold will be lowered from 51% plus to between 35 and 40 percent.

In other words, if the actual events at work were a substantial cause of your psychiatric injury, then you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits. In order to determine how big of an impact a violent event at work had on your injury, speak with a skilled Los Angeles stress-related injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach.

What is considered a ‘violent event’ in the workplace?

While it may seem as if a “violent event” refers to an assault or battery, that is not how workers comp laws interpret this term. According to California’s workers compensation law, a violent event is interpreted as an “act that is characterized by either a strong physical force, extreme or intense force, or an act that is vehemently or passionately threatening.”

Our Los Angeles workers compensation lawyer explains that this broad interpretation of the term allows injured workers to recover compensation for a psychiatric injury caused by a severe elevator accident at work or serious car accident in the course of employment.

Who is entitled to workers comp benefits for psychiatric injuries?

There are two categories of violent events that entitle workers in Los Angeles and all across California to claim workers compensation benefits. The first type is when the worker is a victim of the event, and the second one is when the worker is “directly exposed” to a violent event at work (in other words, the worker witnessed it).

However, a worker who is directly exposed to a violent event must prove that the event was “significant” in order to be entitled to the same workers compensation benefits as a worker who was a victim. Our Los Angeles stress-related injury attorney at the Law Offices of William Kropach explains that not all violent events will be interpreted as “significant” by the court. For example, a worker who witnessed a shooting or sexual assault at work would most likely be able to claim workers compensation benefits for suffering a psychiatric injury.

Do you believe that you suffered a stress-related or psychiatric injury as a result of conditions in the workplace or some violent event at work? Speak to our lawyers to find out whether or not you are entitled to workers comp benefits. Contact the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach to get a free consultation. Call at 818-609-7005 or complete this contact form.

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