Traumatized At Work? Getting Workers' Comp Benefits
It's just natural to think about physical injuries in relation to work, but mental and emotional harm can be just as debilitating. Just as you can qualify for workers' comp benefits if you are hurt physically, you can also be eligible for benefits when suffering from a mental or emotional problem caused by work. A common work-related condition is post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Read on for a better understanding of this disorder and how to get the workers' comp benefits you deserve.
You are covered: Thanks to the recent inclusion of PTSD into the updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), you can now claim this sort of mental damage for workers' comp purposes and get benefits. That being said, mental disorders are generally more difficult to get covered for and some states have been slow to adopt rules to cover this fairly new form of disability.
What to know about this disorder: Almost everyone has heard about this disorder, but you might have mistakenly associated it exclusively with soldiers returning from war. Almost anyone, anywhere, can view or be a part of something horrific and suffer from the emotional effects afterwards. This disorder often causes its victims to relive the bad memories over and over again. This is known as flashbacks, but unfortunately that is far from the only symptom of PTSD. Sufferers can experience a range of negative symptoms, such as anxiety attacks, depression, mood swings, hallucinations and more.
Work related PTSD: There are few jobs that don't have the potential to lead to trauma. Even jobs where things are quiet and peaceful can be interrupted by sudden violence or injury. Consider the follow instances of job-related PTSD:
1. An ex-employee returns to the office complex and begins shooting at random.
2. An employee is attacked and raped in the parking lot of a high-tech firm.
3. A bank robbery turns violent and tellers and employees witness their co-worker being shot.
Making sure you get coverage: Take the following steps to help ensure that you can get workers' comp coverage for your PTSD:
1. If you have experienced a traumatic event at work, monitor your mental health carefully for any changes and seek professional help if issues arise.
2. Let your supervisor know and see to it that a workers' comp claim is filed, just as you would for any physical injury.
3. Keep good records of your experience and your treatment.
4. Through therapy, identify how your work and the traumatic experience has impacted your ability to do your job.
Speak to a workers' comp attorney to help you get the benefits you need and deserve.