A Look at “Predominant Cause” for Psychiatric Injuries”

In State of California/Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation v. WCAB (Van Dyk) (2016) 81 Cal. Comp. Cases 458, Applicant had a specific injury to the lumbar spine, which settled.  A CT claim was subsequently filed, alleging injury to his back and psyche.  His back was accepted, but the psyche was denied.  The PQME found that Applicant’s psychiatric condition was due to the combined effects of his specific and CT injuries, with the predominant cause being the specific injury. The WCJ found that Applicant’s psyche claim was compensable by combining the effects of both injuries for the purposes of applying the “predominant cause” standard. Defendant appealed. The WCAB concluded that applicant met his burden of establishing that actual events of his employment were predominant cause of his psychiatric injury as required under Labor Code §3208.3(b)(1), by showing, through substantial medical evidence, that his temporary disability and need for medical treatment were combined result of both back injuries, and that, although the second injury alone did not meet 51% predominant causation standard, the applicant’s two injuries combined amounted to 51% causation.