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Can California nurses claim workers’ comp for emotional trauma?

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

The healthcare industry is constantly growing and changing. In this element, nurses are on the frontline, often exposed to traumatic events that may impact their emotional and psychological well-being. In California, the law allows workers to receive workers’ compensation for emotional trauma. 

But can nurses take advantage of this provision? Learn more about the law and nurses’ rights to compensation for emotional trauma here. 

Understanding psychological injury claims

To file a workers’ compensation claim for psychological injury, nurses must demonstrate that the emotional or psychological trauma occurred at work. The state of California recognizes two primary types of psychological injuries

  • Psycho-physiological: These injuries are mental disorders that cause physical issues, like sleep disorders or high blood pressure. 
  • Psychiatric injury: These are psychological issues that come from work-related stress or trauma. 

California law stipulates that the nurses must be employed for at least six months (not necessarily continuously) unless a sudden and extraordinary employment condition causes a psychological injury. Nurses must prove their claims with credible evidence of the traumatic events leading to their psychological injury. They are also required to provide detailed medical evaluations. Recovering workers’ compensation for psychological or emotional trauma can be challenging without this documentation. 

The short answer is that nurses in California can file for workers’ compensation for emotional or psychological trauma. However, the law states they must meet the criteria and provide the requested evidence and documentation. The healthcare industry is fraught with traumatic experiences that all healthcare workers are exposed to. Nurses need to know their rights to recover workers’ compensation after psychological or emotional trauma.