Psychiatric injury is supported by substantial medical evidence and compensable on applicant’s unrebutted testimony
- Posted By: Harvey Brown
- October 1, 2022
This is a Board Panel decision
This is a very significant case for workers’ compensation principles.
The applicant filed a psychiatric/stress claim covering a period of 2009 through February 12, 2020. The applicant claimed he was denied two promotions. He claimed he was being characterized as a racist at work. He indicated he had negative performance evaluations after having written a whistleblower letter.
The primary treating physician (PTP) determined that the applicant had a psychiatric injury based on four specific work events that caused 90 per cent of applicant’s psychiatric injury.
The Qualified Medical Examiner (QME) determined the applicant had not suffered a psychiatric injury. The QME determined the applicant had a long-standing personality disorder which likely developed in adolescence.
At trial the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) rejected the QME report as not substantial medical evidence and relied on the PTP. The WCJ concluded the applicant’s testimony was objective evidence and it was credible and unrebutted by the defense.
The defendant filed a petition for reconsideration. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) agreed with the WCJ that the defense failed to present evidence that their actions were lawful, nondiscriminatory, good faith personnel actions. Therefore, the case was compensable.
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