Alleging Psychiatric injury for first time on Petition for New and Further Disability

This is an Opinion and Order Granting Reconsideration

This is a very significant case for workers’ compensation principles.

The applicant had an admitted injury. The applicant entered into a Stipulated Award for orthopedic body parts in 2011. Thereafter, the applicant filed a timely Petition to Reopen. The applicant alleged new and further disability, including the need for psychiatric care. This was the first time psychiatric care was alleged.

The case went to trial. The defendant alleged the claim was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. They also alleged that the injury is not a new and further disability. Defendant claimed the applicant knew of the psychiatric injury at the time of the original stipulation and there was not good cause to reopen.

The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) found the psychiatric injury compensable. Defendant filed a petition for reconsideration. This opinion is in response to that. The Workers” Compensation Appeals Board indicated that a psychiatric condition does not fall within the workers compensation system until it causes either disability or a need for treatment and it is diagnosed. It was error for the WCJ to find the psychiatric injury AOE-COE. Instead the psychiatric injury is a compensable consequence of the original injury. It was not a new and independent injury.

Case: Woodward v. The Corp Construction

Harvey Brown
3501 Jamboree Rd. Suite 602
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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