Camarillo, CA asked in Workers' Compensation for California

Q: I have suffered a psychiatric stress injury in California and I’m not sure if it’s worth filing a claim.What is it worth

I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth filing a claim. In 2017 because of changes at work I was under a ton of new stress. I had to start taking kolonopin, sleep meds and couldn’t sleep and had panic attacks weekly. I left that job last month but even my dr thought I should file a claim. But I’ve emailed several lawyers and Everyone just says they don’t know what a settlement could be but there has to be an average? Are we talking 25k , 50k , 250k? Is this worth my time. The stress I was put through I would estimate at $2 million but is that realistic probably not . But I sure felt like my life was collapsing in on me and working from the time I woke up till the minute I fell asleep at night and going to see my psychiatrist in tatters and having to up the dose Of my anti-anxiety medicine to the point where I know I’m addicted now. I just feel that I definitely was injured by my job but would like some kind of a realistic expectation on a pay out before moving forward.

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2 Lawyer Answers

Nancy J. Wallace

Answered
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Grand Terrace, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but given these particular facts, this claim is worth zero (possibly 'nuisance value' of maybe $2,500). A claim must be filed within one year of knowledge of work-related disability. I think your narrative says you started Klonopin as a direct result of work events in 2017. THAT means you had to present the Workers Compensation Claim Form OR give formal notice of an on-the-job injury to the employer in 2018. It's 2019, so you it looks like you sat on your rights more than one year. Second, a post-separation claim is presumed non-compensable...you needed to present the Claim Form before leaving the job. Finally, the injured worker must prove with written evidence that 51% of the disability is due to events at work (unless it's due to a violent act, which is not in your facts here). IF YOU were going to pursue this, you needed to put it in writing to the boss and it's comp insurer before you left and within one year of your doctor advising you the disabling condition was due to employment.

Ronald Mahurin

Answered
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Point Arena, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Unfortunately it is too late for you to file a claim. Under Labor Code Section 5412 you have only one year from the date you knew or should have known your injury was the result of work. Any claim relating to events in 2017 are barred by the Statute of Limitations absent some type of Reynolds argument. So to answer your question, the psyche claim is probably worth very little, nominal value, which is $2,000 -$3,500.

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