Appellate Court discusses psychiatric injury resulting from sudden and extraordinary employment condition

This is a published decision of the appellate court.

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

The applicant was working for his employer for only 74 days when he fell and suffered numerous injuries. He suffered a fractured pelvis and injuries to the neck, right shoulder, right leg and knees. He suffered a sleep disorder and headaches. He had surgery to repair his pelvis and a torn meniscus. He had additional surgery to his right foot and ankle.

He filed for a psychiatric injury. He alleged depression, difficulty sleeping and panic attacks.

The case went to trial and the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) denied the claim for psychiatric injury. The WCJ indicated the claim was barred by Labor Code section 3208.3 in that the applicant did not work for the employer for 6 months and did not result from a sudden and extraordinary event.

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) on petition for reconsideration found it was caused by an extraordinary employment condition.

The appellate court reviewed the statute and relevant cases. They indicated that the slip and fall was an accident that could reasonably be expected to occur. It was not the result of a sudden and extra ordinary event. Therefore, there was no psychiatric injury. The case should be reviewed for the discussion of what constitutes a sudden and extraordinary event.

Case: Travelers Casualty v. WCAB (Dreher)

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

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