You probably have heard about PSTD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a long-term mental health reaction to witnessing or experiencing one or more traumatic events. While many people recover from accidents or other forms of trauma as their injuries heal or with time – for some people the trauma can prevent them from working, from enjoying normal life activities.
Workers’ compensation doesn’t just apply to physical injuries. Workers who can’t emotionally do their job are also entitled to Virginia worker’s compensation benefits. This includes PTSD cases.
Any accident can cause someone to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Still, PTSD is most common in work environments where there is a great amount of stress, physical contact, and violence. Some of the jobs where PTSD is common are firefighting, police work, and emergency medical care. Workers who see other persons die or deal with physical difficulties, such as nurses and medical care providers, also are prone to suffering PTSD. In many cases, a specific incident is what pushes the employee over the edge to the point he/she can’t work and can’t function.
Workers may also be entitled to vocational rehabilitation expenses for the costs associated with learning new work skills so the worker can accept a less stressful job.
There are several difficulties with PTSD cases. Workers often aren’t aware of their problems right after a traumatizing event occurs. It can take a while before the employee becomes aware that PTSD is the cause of his/her inability to work.
Insurance companies will try to blame factors not related to work for the employee’s post-traumatic stress disorder such as family stresses, money problems, and abuse by others.
Mental health issues are harder to document than physical injuries where X-Rays, CT scans, MRIs, and other more objective tests are used to show that the employee does have significant work-related injuries.
Employers may try to argue that the worker only qualifies for PTSD if he/she suffered the trauma instead of just witnessing the trauma.
Your workers’ compensation lawyers explain that witnessing a violent act at work should qualify for work injury benefits, depending on the occupation of the worker. Virginia currently allows for PTSD claims if certain conditions are met.
It is extremely important for injured workers that are suffering from PTSD speak with their doctors and their attorney about any symptoms listed in this article because it is so important on many levels. First, it is important to get the psychiatric help you need, but properly identifying PTSD as soon as possible can also mean the difference between a successful, ongoing case that leads to settlement, or a case that simply evaporates and leaves the injured worker with little in the way of settlement.
For a worker suffering from PTSD, even light duty at the same workplace is simply impossible. Just the thought of re-entering the place that has brought the injured worker so much suffered is enough to send someone with PTSD into a full-fledged panic attack, severe depression, or even thoughts of suicide.
Whether you have severe PTSD that totally prevents you from working or PTSD that makes it difficult to do your existing job, it is important that you speak with an experienced Virginia worker’s comp attorney.
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