Can you File a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Mental Anguish?

We have all been stressed out at work. A project wasn’t approved, we didn’t get that promotion, or sales dropped in our department. There are psychological injuries, however, that extend beyond the typical on-the-job worries. That leads us to the question of – “Can you file a workers’ compensation claim for mental anguish?”

What California Law Says about Workers’ Compensation and Mental Anguish

While in most states you would have a particularly difficult time establishing that you suffered a psychological injury at work, California is a little different. In California, workers’ compensation does include coverage for “psychological injuries”. Unlike physical injuries, there are some special rules to establishing that you have a claim.

In order to qualify for workers’ compensation for a psychological injury, such as mental anguish, you must:

  • Show that you have been diagnosed with a “mental disorder” by a doctor using accepted procedures.
  • Show that, due to your mental disorder, you required medical treatment or are now disabled. This shows that you have missed work, or can no longer do certain tasks.
  • Establish that you have worked for your employer for at least six months. There may be exceptions to this requirement if the injury occurred suddenly.
  • Prove that your injury predominantly occurred as an “actual event of employment”. That means that your working condition was at least 51 percent responsible for your injury. If your injury was caused by a violent act, then the standard is 35-40 percent.

Hurdles to Workers’ Compensation Claims for Mental Anguish

There are a few hurdles to filing a claim for mental anguish. First, proving a psychological injury is much more difficult than proving a physical injury. You may also find that you are limited in the benefits you can receive because once you are removed from your job, your psychological condition may improve. There are also several scenarios that do not qualify for workers’ compensation, such as being laid off or being the subject of nondiscriminatory employer actions.

Long-Term Effects of Strain on the Neck and Spine from Desk Jobs

Around 70 percent of Americans spend six hours or more sitting down each day. A great many of these individuals spend their sitting hours working behind a desk. While for many, a desk job is preferable to manual labor, there are risks involved in working in a sedentary role as well.

According to a study in 2015, prolonged sitting may increase the risk of certain injuries and illnesses, including cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. Working a desk job also increases the risk of neck and spine injuries. While sitting may seem more relaxing than standing or moving around, what many people fail to realize is that prolonged sitting can actually put stress on your spine and neck, including the discs.

Long-Term Effects of Neck and Spine Strain

If you work at a desk job, you likely have experienced at least mild pain or stiffness in your back or neck. These symptoms could lead to long-term injuries or discomfort. What starts with developing a poor posture can lead to the following long-term problems:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Chronic pain in the neck, back, or hips
  • Decreased mobility
  • Decreased balance
  • Increased risk of injury
  • Decreased athletic performance
How to Reduce Neck and Spine Injuries at a Desk Job

There are a few things that you can do to reduce the risk of neck or spine injuries. Some common recommendations include:

  • Use an ergonomic chair to improve posture
  • Regular exercise can help strengthen muscles and improve flexibility
  • Use a standing desk, or a transitional desk that allows sitting or standing
  • Take breaks throughout the day to stand, stretch, and move around
  • Take a walk during your lunch break

Neck and spine health are important for the overall health of your body and mind. Take measures now to prevent long-term damage and problems in the future.

 

Sources:

https://www.spineuniverse.com/wellness/ergonomics/sitting-disease-its-impact-your-spine

https://www.epainassist.com/articles/impact-of-sedentary-desk-jobs-on-posture-and-consequences

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sitting-at-your-desk-doesnt-have-to-be-a-pain-in-the-neck/art-20269947

Can Domestic Workers File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

There are more than two million domestic workers in the United States. These individuals take on the roles of housekeepers, nannies, caregivers, and home health aides. These jobs are incredibly important, and they can present some unique risks. Domestic workers are often exposed to situations that could be dangerous to their health. Some examples include:

  • Exposure to bodily fluids
  • Heavy lifting of objects or persons
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Exposure to client pets/animals
  • Exposure to illnesses

While the jobs performed by domestic workers are incredibly important, there is a disparity in how domestic workers are treated, and the benefits they are entitled to.

Can Domestic Workers File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

A general search of workers’ compensation laws will tell you that domestic workers are not classified as “employees” and therefore, are most likely not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured on the job. However, California is one of few states that offers some level of protection for domestic workers.

Under California law, full time domestic workers may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, even if they are working for an individual and not a business.

  • Inside workers (nannies, housekeepers, etc.) must work at least 20 hours per week to be considered full time.
  • Outside workers (landscapers, etc.) must work at least 10 hours per week to be considered full time.

In order to qualify, the domestic worker must meet the following requirements:

  • Have worked at least 52 hours over the period of 90 days prior to the accident
  • Earned at least $100 in wages

If you meet all of these requirements, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim if you have been injured while on the job. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine whether you qualify, and if so, how to proceed. Contact the Law Offices of George S. Henderson to speak with our workers’ compensation attorney about your claim.

Sources:

https://www.disabilitysecrets.com/resources/workers-compensation-law.htm

The Physical Dangers of Being a Registered Nurse

After years of education and training, you have finally been awarded the title of Registered Nurse (RN). While there are many great attributes to being an RN, there are also some environmental hazards for nurses that you should be aware of. More specifically, the physical dangers of being a registered nurse include:

  • Back Injuries: Back injuries are one of the most common physical dangers for RN’s. Research has suggested that as many as 40,000 U.S. nurses report back injuries every year. Back injuries are most commonly associated with lifting patients, carrying equipment, and performing repetitive movements.
  • Infectious Diseases: RN’s are exposed to patients with all sorts of ailments. In hospitals, especially, infectious diseases are a significant hazard. The physical dangers of infectious diseases can be ongoing, as diseases like Hepatitis B or C, or HIV can have a long-term impact on your health.
  • Toxic Substances: RN’s are required to utilize a variety of substances that could be toxic. Anesthetics, gases, chemicals, and some medication agents, if not properly handled, could be toxic or deadly. There is also the risk of side effects like chemical burns, contact dermatitis, and occupational asthma.
  • Radiation: RN’s often work in specialty units like radiology, where they perform X-rays, MRI’s and other tests. In these environments, radiation exposure is a real danger. Exposure to radiation can cause side effects that impact bone and skin health, can increase the risk of miscarriage, and can lead to some types of cancer.
  • Violence: Sometimes people who need medical attention aren’t in the best frame of mind. Other times, they are accompanied by a police escort before being taken to jail. Nurses must treat these patients just as they would any other. Unfortunately, sometimes patients become violent, which can lead to nurses being injured.

Like any occupation, RN’s must face environmental hazards. Many of these hazards can be managed with proper training, safety gear, and following protocols.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK232400/