Picture this, your coworker falls and suffers a traumatic injury during your work shift. You come to work and start experiencing anxiety, will that happen to me? How did it happen? Is my employer taking care of my coworker following his injury? This anxiety could be related to Post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a mental health condition caused by witnessing a severe or traumatic event. If the traumatic event occurs while you are working (and acting in the scope of your employment), your post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) condition could be covered by workers’ compensation.
If you think you might have post-traumatic stress disorder, do not wait to seek out medical treatment. Waiting can increase your symptoms of anxiety, make your treatment take longer, and jeopardize your credibility. A mental health condition is no less serious than a physical injury and must be addressed in the same manner. If you think you may have a work-related PTSD claim, talk to your employer and your physician right away.
What are some common workplace PTSD Claims? Some occupations are particularly susceptible to traumatic events, such as police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Any high stress or dangerous environment can place workers at risk of developing PTSD. Another frequent source of work-related PTSD claims involves accidents in which one employee witnesses another employee die or suffer serious injury.
PTSD could be a standalone workers’ compensation claim or arise in connection with a physical injury or other mental health condition. Frequently, a worker injured in a severe accident will recover from the physical injuries, but suffer from a lingering PTSD condition for many years following the accident. That worker has a workers’ compensation claim that will include compensation for the physical injuries and for PTSD. Sometimes, a worker’s only injury was development of PTSD. This happens often when a worker witnesses an accident, but is not involved in the accident. That worker, too, has a workers’ compensation claim for the PTSD.
What are some common symptoms? People with post-traumatic stress disorder may suffer from a wide variety of psychological symptoms. Everyone responds to trauma differently, so everyone will have differing symptoms. For some, post-traumatic stress disorder may cause mild anxiety and depression. These individuals may require only periodic treatment, but can otherwise return to work full-time at their regular job. Others may have severe reactions that negatively affect their jobs and their personal relationships.
Common emotional or mental symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include:
- flashbacks of the traumatic event
- being easily startled or jumpy
- emotional detachment
- irritability and anger
- self-destructive or violent behavior
- obsessive compulsive behavior
- memory and concentration problems, and
Stress doesn’t just affect the mind; it also has a negative affect on the body. Common physical symptoms of PTSD include:
- high blood pressure
- heart attacks
- diarrhea, or
While workers’ compensation laws will allow you to receive some level of benefits regardless of the severity of PTSD, it is important to report all of the above symptoms to your doctor.
If you believe you may have PTSD due to a workplace incident, talk to your doctor and your employer as soon as possible. There are strict deadlines for reporting workplace injuries, and you do not want to lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer and/or doctor will provide you with the forms necessary to file the workers’ compensation claim in your state.
Workers’ compensation benefits can provide the time off work and treatment resources needed to heal the psychological scars. Benefits may include payment for lost wages, coverage of all medical treatment related to the PTSD, and, if you never fully recover, compensation for permanent mental health impairment. You will also be eligible for similar benefits pertaining to any other mental health or physical conditions related to the workplace injury.
It is never easy to win a stress-related workers’ comp claim, but being upfront and honest, and seeking the assistance you need right away will make the entire situation a less confusing and stressful ordeal. If you or someone you know was injured contact 610-730-4572 or email [email protected] to set up your FREE consultation!