Does Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

October 9, 2015

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Mayo Clinic, is a mental health condition that can get triggered by either witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. People may witness traumatic events at work such as a firefighter who witnesses a colleague’s gruesome death in a fire, a teacher being held at gunpoint in their classroom, or a factory worker witnessing coworker’s injury in a piece of machinery.

PTSD can be the basis of a workers’ compensation claim, or it can come about as a consequence of a physical injury or mental health condition brought on by an accident or incident at work. The worker might suffer PTSD symptoms that keep them from being able to do their job. A psychiatrist or psychologist must examine the employee and give an official diagnosis of PTSD, so the injured party can file a workers’ compensation claim. The symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks to the frightening event
  • Nightmares
  • Irritability and anger
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Self-destructive behavior

Mental health workers’ compensation claims in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia’s workers’ compensation rules contain three different types of mental injury cases for workers’ comp claims:

  • Physical-mental. This would be a mental or emotional event which has physical health consequences
  • Mental-physical. This type of claim has a mental or emotional event that causes physical consequences
  • Mental-mental. This type of claim has a mental or emotional cause with a purely emotional result

With mental-mental claims, the claimant is challenged to prove the existence of “abnormal working conditions.”

Employees who believe that their PTSD was caused by a workplace incident are advised to see their doctor right away and talk to their employer. In order to be eligible for workers’ comp benefits, the incident that caused the injury must be reported within 21 days or else the employer and their insurer are under no obligation to pay workers’ compensation benefits.

Because PTSD has a higher burden of proof, an individual who is suffering from PTSD might consider hiring a Philadelphia workers’ comp attorney, who will guide them through the challenges of filing a claim and any subsequent appeals within the deadline and in accordance with Pennsylvania law.

Is post-traumatic stress disorder keeping you from being able to do your work? Larry Pitt & Associates wants to hear your story. Please contact us to find out more about our workers’ compensation services for people who live and work in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.