How to File a Claim for a WCB Psychological Injury in BC
The first step in obtaining a permanent or temporary disability benefit for a psychological condition is to have a mental health condition formally accepted on the claim. You should know that WorkSafeBC/WCB tends to avoid accepting a worker’s psychological condition. If you are experiencing mental health concerns from the result of a workplace incident, it is important to contact WorkSafeBC/WCB immediately to start your mental health claim.
If deemed that a worker has a permanent mental disorder resulting from a workplace injury, significant work-related stressor, or a traumatic event, WCB will usually refer a worker for a permanent functional impairment evaluation with a WorkSafeBC psychologist. WorkSafeBC may even offer psychological treatment and health care for the psychological condition, but this is not the same as formally accepting it and compensating for it, on the claim. Additionally, WorkSafeBC/WCB will evaluate whether the mental disorder resulting from the workplace injury was a pre-existing condition. You should be aware that even when a condition is acknowledged, it will often be misdiagnosed or miscategorized in order to minimize a worker’s symptoms and compensation.
Who Can Qualify for a WCB Psychological Injury BC
With work incidents having mental health effects as well as physical effects, it is very common for workers to develop psychological conditions as a result of their workplace injuries.
Some workers develop mental health conditions due to significant related stressors and/or traumatic events. The mental health conditions may include references to depression, anxiety, low mood, and suicidal ideation. It is important to see a psychiatrist or psychologist regarding your mental health to receive relevant treatment and a diagnosis. However, based on our experience, WorkSafeBC (WCB) will routinely fail to accept or acknowledge a psychological condition on the claim unless they are asked.
In some cases, a mental health condition may be a pre-existing condition; however may have become aggravated by significant work-related stressors, traumatic events, or physical injury. If this is the case, an aggravation of a mental health condition may be accepted on a WorkSafeBC claim.
How our Lawyers Can Help with your WCB Psychological Injury Application
Once a mental health condition has been diagnosed, our WorkSafeBC lawyers will assist in requesting the Board (WorkSafeBC/WCB) to further investigate and accept the formally diagnosed mental disorder. Our WorkSafeBC lawyers will provide legal advice and guidance to the injured workers for attempts to return to work, receive health care from a psychologist or psychiatrist, or requesting permanent disability award for their mental health condition.
WorkSafeBC guidelines provide four categories for psychological conditions: minor (0%); mild (5%-25%); moderate (30%-70%); and marked-extreme (75%-100%). Once a decision has been made with respect to whether WorkSafeBC/WCB will be accepting or denying a mental disorder on the claim and/or a decision on the amount of permanent disability, our lawyers will provide assistance with appealing these decisions.
The acceptance of a formal psychological condition, and the diagnosis that is accepted, can make a significant difference in an injured worker’s compensation for a mental health condition. Our WorkSafeBC lawyers will provide legal advice on whether a request for further investigation and acceptance of a mental disorder can be made to WorkSafeBC/WCB.
Denied WCB Psychological Injury Claim? Call us for a Free Consultation
In WorkSafeBC’s attempts to downplay the seriousness of the condition and reduce a worker’s disability award, a psychological condition may be denied on the claim. Once the decision is issued there is a 90-day period to appeal these decisions. Our WorkSafeBC/WCB lawyers will be able to provide legal advice on how to pursue a mental health claim with WorkSafeBC.
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