When most people think of workers’ compensation, they imagine physical injuries caused by large machinery or repetitive strain. However, some employees face mental health struggles due to their work. Are you eligible for workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder?
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health disorder typically resulting from a shocking, frightening, or dangerous event. For a condition to qualify as PTSD, victims must meet the following criteria:
• Re-experiencing symptoms: These include episodes of sudden traumatic memories and can make the person affected feel as though they are living through the traumatic event again.
• Avoidance symptoms: These involve the person avoiding conversations, images, or other triggers that remind them of the trauma they experienced.
• Two or more mood and cognition symptoms: These include feeling isolated or alienated, feeling negative emotions, and an inability to feel positive emotions.
• Two or more reactivity and arousal symptoms: These might include feeling tense, difficulty in concentrating, insomnia, irritability, being easily startled, or risky behaviors.
Filing workers’ comp claims
Filing a claim for workers’ comp for a mental health disorder in Pennsylvania is similar to filing a claim for a physical injury, and they can often occur simultaneously. If you suffer from PTSD which happened as a result of a physical injury (or depression or anxiety, for example), adding the mental health diagnosis to the workers’ compensation claim might be much easier. However, if your trauma resulted from an event that is a normal occurrence for your profession, without any type of physical injury, your claim will be much harder to prove. Without a physical injury as the inciting event, you will need to prove that your mental health disorder was a result of an abnormal working condition.
If you find yourself facing PTSD caused by your job, a lawyer could help you to determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and could help you prove that your disorder was caused by a work condition.