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Emotional distress may be covered by workers' compensation

When you were attacked on the job, you were lucky to get out alive. The other person came after you with a weapon, and it was only by the grace of running into a coworker that you were able to get the help that you needed to avoid a scenario that could have been much worse.

After the attack, the other party went to jail and you were told that you could return to work. Since then, though, your anxiety and depression has been severe. You struggle to leave your home and are always spooked by movements and sounds. What should you do? Can you be compensated for this emotional distress despite having no physical injuries to speak of?

If it's a workplace injury, you should be compensated

The first thing to understand is that to qualify for workers' compensation, you have to show that the injury happened at work. If the stress-related injury is due to work, then you may be able to pursue an emotional or anxiety-based claim.

Emotional distress is not the same as a physical injury, so you may need to be able to demonstrate the significance of the injury to receive compensation. For example, you may need to have medical documentation, lists of medications or other information available for the workers' compensation insurance carrier to review.

In California, you can pursue benefits for emotional distress that is related to work if you can show that you worked long enough. Usually, you'll need to have worked for the employer for at least six months.

What should you do if you have stress-related injuries but have been denied workers' compensation benefits?

Since California is a state that does recognize stress-related injuries, it's important that you look into your legal options further. If you have the denial letter, it should state a reason for the denial. For example, you may not have provided enough evidence to state that this was a work-related injury. In that case, you could work with an attorney to build up the case and resubmit your claim as an appeal.

If you are hurt on the job in any way, it is your right to pursue compensation. You should receive these benefits so that you can focus on your health and recovery. Taking the time to heal after a traumatic event is important, whether you have physical injuries or are suffering from emotional distress.

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