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Workers’ Compensation and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers weigh in on post traumatic stress disorder being covered under Workers' Compensation benefits. Every day, thousands of American workers place themselves at great physical risk as part of their employment. But aside from the physical risks, various tragedies, accidents, and other matters can lead to the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is a complicated syndrome that can result in reliving the tragic event through both nightmares and flashbacks.

PTSD is frequently undiagnosed until several weeks, months, or even years after the trauma has occurred. According to data provided by the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, 7.8% of Americans experience PTSD at least once in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely to develop PTSD as men. Members of the military, especially those who have spent time in a war zone, have a much greater risk of experiencing PTSD.

Can a worker who has suffered PTSD receive Workers’ Compensation benefits?

Treating PTSD can be a long and expensive process. For many PTSD sufferers, the costs of such treatment can be overwhelming without some type of insurance. When a worker develops PTSD as a result of an employment related incident, they may look to their Workers’ Compensation insurance to help. Unfortunately, many Workers’ Compensation insurance carriers are refusing to cover certain PTSD treatment, in particular if the PTSD sufferer also did not suffer a physical injury.

For example, Florida laws would allow the Parkland school shooting incident first responders to get medical coverage under their Workers’ Compensation insurance for employment related PTSD. However, if the responder does not have a physical injury, they will not qualify for additional compensation, should they need time off from work for their treatment, or if the PTSD becomes so disabling that they cannot continue to work. Florida legislators have been working on a bill to change this, despite the protests of many lobby groups, including the Florida League of Cities.

Currently, both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have laws that will allow for compensation of PTSD claims that do not include physical injuries, in special cases where the stimulus that resulted in the PTSD is “unusual.”

Difficulties Establishing PTSD Resulting from Employment

Even if a physical injury accompanies the PTSD, there may be other difficulties in establishing that PTSD resulted from an employment related incident. PTSD is a mental injury which requires a subjective determination. Insurance carriers may find it difficult to determine if the PTSD resulted from a trauma at the workplace, or some other underlying physical or psychological trauma.

When a worker is claiming total and permanent disability resulting from PTSD, insurance carriers will strongly scrutinize the worker’s claim that a stressful workplace situation resulted in the PTSD.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Workers Receive Compensation for Their Injuries

If you are a Delaware worker who suffers from PTSD as a result of your employment, you may be entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. The experienced Wilmington Worker’s Compensation lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help you navigate the complicated process of filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. Call 302-888-1221 today or complete our online contact form. From our offices in Wilmington and Philadelphia we represent injured workers in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.