PTSD impacts millions of Americans. If you’re one of them, you may have a workers’ compensation claim.
What is PTSD?
Posttraumatic stress disorder, better known by its acronym, “PTSD,” is a mental health condition. Those who have experienced or witnessed traumatic events may suffer from PTSD symptoms.
Typically, when people hear “PTSD,” they think of trauma related to war or combat. This stems from the fact PTSD is commonly called “shell shock” or “combat fatigue.” However, traumatic experiences are not limited to those experienced by military personnel.
For example, the National Center for PTSD organizes sources of trauma into three distinct categories: war and combat, violence and abuse, and disaster and terrorism.
Anyone can experience PTSD. In fact, PTSD affects 3.5% of adults in the United States each year.
Typical PTSD symptoms include:
- Intense or disturbing thoughts and feelings related to the trauma experienced long after it has occurred
- Flashbacks or nightmares
- Sadness, fear, or anger
- Feelings of detachment or estrangement from loved ones
- Avoidance of certain situations or people that remind the individual of the trauma experienced
- Strong negative reactions to ordinary occurrences (i.e., loud noises or accidental touches)
If you believe you have PTSD contact your doctor for a proper medical diagnosis.
PTSD following a work-related incident is more common than one might expect.
In the workplace, PTSD can occur after an employee sustains or sees a life-threatening injury or following the death of a co-worker. Further, incidents such as bullying and workplace violence may contribute to PTSD too.
Some professions are more apt to see cases of PTSD. For instance, paramedics, firefighters, police, dispatch receivers, corrections officers, doctors, nurses, and as mentioned previously, military personnel, experience PTSD more frequently than other workers.
If you’ve experienced one of the above events, or something similar, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Eligibility for PTSD Workers’ Compensation State by State
Eligibility for PTSD-related workers’ compensation varies from state to state.
Keches Law Group represents clients throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
Under Massachusetts law, employees may recover for “emotional disabilities only where the predominant contributing cause of such disability is an event or series of events occurring within any employment.”
“Emotional disabilities” has a broad definition and includes conditions such as PTSD.
Therefore, in Massachusetts, an employee is entitled to workers’ compensation if workplace events were a primary factor in having caused their PTSD.
New Hampshire requires an element of physical manifestation for workers’ compensation claims.
Further, mental injuries are not compensable if caused by disciplinary action, work evaluation, job transfer, layoff, demotion, termination, or any similar action, taken in good faith by an employer.
However, under a new statute, emergency response and public safety workers afflicted with PTSD need not show physical symptoms to be eligible for workers’ compensation.
To clarify, emergency response and public safety workers are defined as: call, volunteer, or regular firefighters, certified law enforcement officers, certified county corrections officers, emergency communication dispatchers, and rescue or ambulance workers including ambulance service, emergency medical personnel, first responder service, and volunteer personnel.
In Rhode Island, employees unable to perform because of an occupational disease or condition may receive workers’ compensation.
Mental injuries, like PTSD, will qualify as an “occupational disease or condition” if:
- caused or accompanied by identifiable physical trauma, or
- caused by emotional stress resulting from a situation of greater dimensions than the day-to-day emotional strain and tension which all employees encounter daily without serious mental injury.
Do You Think You Have a PTSD Workers’ Compensation Claim? We Can Help.
Navigating workers’ compensation is tricky. But, Keches Law Group’s skilled and experienced workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to assist you.
If you believe you have a workers’ compensation claim, Keches Law Group can help! Contact us today.