When you think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you probably imagine soldiers and veterans. Yet 7% to 8% of the US population experiences this disorder at least once in a lifetime. That’s around 8 million people, a much broader demographic than you might think. When The Damage Is Mental, What Can Worker’s Comp Do?
People develop PTSD after exposure to trauma. For example, death or threat of death, sexual assault, and traumatic death. Workplace PTSD is no exception.
With work-related shootings on the rise, more and more attention is being placed on the psychological side of worker’s compensation claims. After all, a mental injury can be just as debilitating as a physical injury– if not more so.
That’s why we’re bringing you this guide to filing PTSD worker’s compensation claims. Keep reading to discover what to expect when filing plus some tips to help you win your case.
If you have workplace PTSD, most medical professionals will wait to diagnose you until you’ve experienced symptoms for once month or more. These symptoms must onset after a traumatic event and, in this case, a traumatic event in the workplace.
Think you might be suffering from workplace PTSD? Here are the three symptoms to look out for:
Each of these symptoms can significantly interfere with your ability to do your job. In those cases, you have the right to file a PTSD worker’s comp claim.
Keep in mind that you must experience the trauma while in the workplace. Pre-existing PTSD or PTSD developed from a trauma outside of the workplace would not qualify. Further, you must have actually been present for the traumatic event.
This means you either witnessed the trauma (i.e., you saw someone threatened death), experienced the trauma (i.e., you were injured traumatically), or suffering repeated or severe exposure to the details of the trauma (i.e., everyone at work won’t stop talking about a sexual trauma that happened to a coworker).
In some cases, individuals are diagnosed with PTSD after learning a loved one or relative experienced a trauma. However, this type of trauma is much less common in worker’s comp cases.
When you file a worker’s compensation claim, you’re alleging that a work-related injury or illness led to income loss. Further, families of workers injured on the job may qualify for worker’s comp benefits.
Work-related PTSD is no different.
When you go to file your PTSD worker’s comp claim, you may qualify under one or more of three types of claims. Let’s explore the three of them more in-depth.
A mental-physical worker’s comp claim is one that is filed because a workplace-related mental injury or illness has led to a physical illness.
Here’s an example: if you develop workplace PTSD, you may experience chronic stress. While chronic stress is a mental condition, it can lead to physical ailments, including ulcers and hypertension.
Physical-mental claims are much more common after workplace trauma or injury. That’s because this type of worker’s compensation claim begins as a physical injury obtained at work before progressing to a more serious mental condition.
What do we mean? Imagine falling at work and breaking your hip. Not only is the physical injury keeping you from working, but you also develop a chronic pain condition.
If you have workplace-related PTSD, you will more than likely file a mental-mental claim. This worker’s comp claim stems from a psychological trauma that happens to you at work. The mental trauma ultimately leads to a psychiatric injury, such as PTSD.
Unfortunately, filing a mental-mental worker’s compensation claim is difficult to prove. Despite how frequent workplace shootings and other violent events there are today, protection for psychological damage at work is lacking.
When you file your PTSD workers’ comp claim, you’re going to face an uphill battle. But with these tips, you can feel more confident knowing you’re doing everything in your power to get back on track at work.
The first thing you want to do before filing your claim is to receive a formal diagnosis. You’ll need to locate a worker’s comp psychologist in your area and schedule an appointment. After receiving your diagnosis, you need to make sure you schedule follow-ups or therapy sessions for a record of your symptoms.
Once you’ve received your diagnosis and you file your worker’s compensation claim, the investigation will begin. Remember when we said to schedule follow-ups and/or therapy sessions with your worker’s comp doctor? This is where that tip becomes extremely important.
Here’s why: with a physical worker’s comp claim, investigators don’t have to look far for the symptoms of your injury. They can see your limp, watch your face wince when the injury is prodded, and see scars or other physical manifestations of the damage.
When the injury is instead mental, investigators will interview your family and friends about your PTSD symptoms. In that case, they may not always know what signs to look out for. The good news is that a mental health professional will recognize the symptoms of PTSD and will be a reliable source of evidence in your claim.
If your PTSD claim is approved, you will get reimbursed for the money you spent on medical care. Depending on how debilitating your condition is, you may qualify for either temporary or permanent disability benefits.
You’ll qualify for temporary disability if you have to miss work while you’re recovering. For permanent disability benefits, you’d have to show that your PTSD permanently discludes you from being able to work.
Are you searching for a worker’s compensation psychologist or psychiatrist to help in your workplace PTSD claim? Call 1-800-897-8440 today to find an experienced metal heal professional near you who accepts workers’ compensation. Don’t delay, contact us today to schedule an appointment!
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