If you were injured on the job, you may give immediate thought to your physical injuries. That’s important to do for your health and safety, but remember that your mental, emotional and psychological injuries are just as important to address. Fortunately, a workers compensation attorney in Riverside, California can be your advocate for whatever work injury you’re experiencing.
Psychological injuries can be difficult to diagnose and hard for a judge, jury or insurance carrier to understand. Indeed, the term “psychological injury” can be vague. To help you file your claim, it’s crucial to understand the two kinds of injuries that normally fall into the category of psychological injuries.
1. Psychological Injuries That Result From Physical Injuries
The first kind of psychological injury is the type of mental or emotional difficulties that come with physical injuries. For example, perhaps a worker suffered a back injury and now can no longer go to work or play with their children the way they used to. They may begin to worry about money and want to return to their “full self.”
This kind of anxiety, depression or loss of enjoyment of life is common and understandable. Remember that you don’t have to face this situation by yourself, and you may be able to file for compensation for these kinds of injuries. Your workers compensation attorney in Riverside can help you present your disabilities to the insurance carrier clearly and in a way that shows how badly you’re injured so you can fight for the benefits you deserve.
2. Injuries to the Brain Itself
The other kind of psychological injury is an injury to the brain itself. Trauma or an impact on the brain results in a loss of brain function. These injuries are often called traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs.
Unlike emotional symptoms associated with physical injuries, with a TBI, the person will often suffer a loss of brain function. They may have a loss of concentration, a lack or loss of short-term memory, or violent mood swings that are out of character for their normal self. In severe cases, they may need in-home care and attendance.
How TBIs Happen
A TBI often happens when the brain hits the inner skull. For example, car accidents, falls at work and objects falling on a worker’s head can all result in a TBI.
In addition, a TBI can occur alongside a blackout or a concussion. (However, TBIs can happen independently of these two conditions as well.)
TBIs are especially dangerous because people may ignore them, denying that they have suffered one. Common excuses include depression, tiredness, and other related ways to rationalize a change in mood.
Recovering From and Coping With a Mental Work Injury
Recovering from a TBI can vary from person to person. Some people may find that their symptoms resolve in a matter of time. Others may find the psychological conditions to be long-lasting. They may even have permanent psychological disabilities.
The first step in coping with psychological injury is to get medical attention. Many people are quick to get help for physical injuries. However, they neglect getting medical attention for mental and psychological injuries. Nonetheless, getting medical care is important so you can begin your path to recovery.
A doctor will track your progress and document your injury. Unlike a broken bone, there is no scan or X-ray to show the extent of psychological damage. However, the doctor’s notes, observations and records can provide some proof to your employer or insurance carrier of the extent of your psychological injury. Indeed, the medical records and your doctor’s opinions can be essential in determining the level of workers compensation benefits that you can receive.
If your employer tries to deny you workers compensation for your work-related mental injury even with medical documentation, a workers compensation attorney in Riverside can help you take the appropriate next steps.
Beyond initial diagnosis, a trained doctor or mental health professional can also help you acquire the skills that you may need to cope with psychological disabilities. For example, you may need to learn new ways of keeping track of things or of setting reminders for yourself. You may also need to be more aware of your changing mood.
Besides professional help, family can also play a huge role in helping you recover from your mental injury. Your family and friends can be essential in creating an environment that’s nurturing and supportive as you cope and heal.
Once you learn how to adapt to your psychological injuries and move forward, you may be ready once again to enter the workforce or to start enjoying life the way that you once did.
Speak With a Workers Compensation Attorney in Riverside
The most important thing to realize in a workers compensation case involving a mental injury is that there are ways you can recover and help yourself get back to work and back to your life. Working hard and giving yourself the time needed to make a full recovery are vital in helping you recuperate from a psychological injury.
Proper compensation is also important for recovery. Although benefits for physical injuries may be more well known, workers compensation covers mental injuries too. A workers compensation attorney in Riverside can help you file a claim, identify next steps and fight for your rights so you can rest and recover without worrying about money.
However, remember that there are time limits to filing any claim, so don’t delay.