Witnessing a Death in the Workplace

July 8, 2019

Someone Writing PTSDA co-worker dying on the job can be a traumatic experience that often causes mental stress injuries among employees. Much depends on the circumstances surrounding the death. Probably the worst-case scenario is an act of violence in the workplace, the incidence of which has tragically increased in recent years. Witnessing a co-worker become injured in a gruesome accident may have long-lasting psychological repercussions. A situation where an employee dies suddenly from a cardiovascular or similar incident is also devastating.


Experiencing the death of a colleague is traumatizing and may lead to conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. When workplace violence is involved, PTSD is even more likely to affect survivors. While it is normal for employees to feel depressed or fearful for a certain time after a workplace death, some individuals find the event overwhelming and the passage of time is not healing. Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Flashbacks to the triggering event
  • Racing heart
  • Panic attacks
  • Nightmares
  • Loss of interest in life
  • Emotional numbness

Those dealing with mental stress after a death in the workplace may find it impossible to return to the death scene. Some may feel they are losing their minds, as the tragedy replays over and over. Affected workers may consider suicide.

Workers’ Compensation and PTSD

While it is possible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for psychological issues related to work, it is more difficult to prove the mental stress is job-related than that of a physical injury. However, when there is great evidence that a co-worker’s death affected a person, workers’ compensation may approve the claim. First responders such as police and firefighters might witness the death of a co-worker and dear friend, or perhaps the deceased person had saved the life of the first responder in the incident. Acts of workplace violence and the subsequent chaos following may bolster a PTSD claim.

Workplace Accident Lawyers in Philadelphia at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Dealing With Mental Stress Injuries

If have questions about mental stress injuries following an incident at work, you need the services of a workplace accident lawyer in Philadelphia. Attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates P.C. can help you obtain the benefits to which you are entitled. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW today.

Conveniently located in PhiladelphiaBensalemLansdowne, and Reading, we represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum LynneDarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssingtonFolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztownLansdowneMediaMerion StationMortonNarberthNorristownNorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect ParkQuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper DarbyWest Chester, and Wynnewood.