Can You Qualify For Workers' Comp With PTSD? What You Need To Know
Most people already know that you can rely on your employer's workers' comp insurance to cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages if you are injured while on the job. In fact, workers' comp goes beyond the expected coverage by allowing people who are suffering from mental conditions as a result of work to also draw these benefits. One mental condition in particular, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), can result from a worker experiencing a psychologically harmful event while at work. PTSD can greatly impact your ability to do your job, so read on to learn more about how you can get benefits as a result of this disorder.
What is PTSD?
The inclusion of PTSD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is the reference manual for mental health practitioners, means that workers' comp insurance must provide coverage for those suffering from this disorder, if it is diagnosed and proven. Those who suffer from PTSD may find themselves with sleeping and eating difficulties, anxiety, depression and more. The most well-known symptom of PTSD is "flashbacks," where the afflicted person revisits the horrific or terrifying experience again and again, causing a seemingly endless loop of the awful event to play in their mind.
How PTSD Could Affect Your Job
While PTSD is normally associated with soldiers who have witnessed horrific events while at war, almost anyone who witnesses traumatic events or have an extremely stressful job may become a victim of this mental disorder. For workers' comp to cover you for PTSD, the traumatic event must have occurred at work, or at a work-related event, like a party or an off-site training. Some civilian job situations that may cause PTSD are:
- Employees who have been robbed, attacked, raped or assaulted while working.
- School employees, such as teachers, who witness a mass shooting incident at the school.
- Emergency personnel, such as firemen, emergency medical workers, or law enforcement personnel who have witnessed a particularly gruesome event.
Proving Your PTSD for Workers' Comp
You may have more of challenge proving a PTSD claim for workers' comp, since mental disorders can only be diagnosed with a psychological evaluation, and are sometimes faked. You must be especially careful with every step of the claims process, so make sure that you:
- Just as with a physical injury, report your condition to your supervisor and ensure that report is filed.
- Begin treatment with a licensed mental health professional and continue with all prescribed therapy sessions and evaluations. Never skip appointments or stop treatment; doing so makes it appear that your PTSD is not serious enough to prevent you from working at your job.
- Keep careful records of all treatment, medication, and testing. These records are the prime piece of evidence to support your workers' comp claim.
If you feel that your claim is not being given the attention it deserves, contact a workers' comp attorney or firm such as Zavodnick, Perlmutter & Boccia LLC to assist you with getting your PTSD claim approved.