Many work-related injuries are not so obvious on the surface. Sometimes, workers can experience horrific, tragic, or terrifying events or injuries that can cause them to live with serious stress and anxiety that inhibits their everyday lives. Stress and anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more common than you’d think in the workplace. But is PTSD compensable under workers’ compensation insurance? Will you be able to collect benefits for your stress disorder? For more detailed and case-specific answers to these questions, it’s important to speak with an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is most often associated with soldiers coming back from the war. But did you know that anyone can suffer from PTSD? This diagnosable medical condition is a physical or emotional response to the memory or reminder of a stressful, traumatic, or terrifying event.
Examples of work-related events that can cause PTSD:
- Witnessing a co-workers’ death, survivor’s guilt, etc.
- Being verbally abused or bullied by your boss
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Prison riots
- Being threatened by a customer, student, etc.
- Bank shootings
- Being exposed to any kind of violence
- Life-threatening injuries, such as amputations
- Being attacked or robbed
Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Fear of returning to work
- Avoiding certain situations
- Loss of energy/motivation
- Poor concentration
- Negative feelings
- Suicidal thoughts
Does Workers Compensation Cover PTSD?
Massachusetts’s worker’s comp law does cover mental and emotional disabilities, like post-traumatic stress disorder, as long as they are work-related. However, there are a number of factors that can prevent you from receiving benefits, since psychological disabilities are often hard to prove and the workers’ compensation rules for these types of disabilities are usually complicated.
Am I Eligible to Receive Compensation for PTSD?
Receiving workers’ compensation for PTSD is very tricky. You will have to prove that your workplace injury is a direct cause of your post-traumatic stress disorder. In order to do this, you will have to submit medical evidence as proof, undergo an evaluation by a doctor, and prove that your PTSD is not the result of a pre-existing condition.
Your eligibility will be constantly questioned by your employer’s insurer. They may conduct surveillance on you, review your counseling records, and do anything they can to disprove that work caused your PTSD. That’s why it’s a smart idea to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to help you through what can be a very complicated process.
What Benefits Can I Receive for PTSD?
If you suffer from PTSD as a result of your on-the-job injury, you may be entitled to compensation based on factors like average weekly wage, type of injury, how many days you’ve missed from work, etc. You could potentially receive temporary total disability, permanent and total disability, partial disability, or medical coverage, depending on your individual circumstances. It’s best to speak with an experienced Massachusetts workers’ comp attorney to get the best estimate of the benefits you could potentially collect.
Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Comp Attorney
Receiving workers’ compensation for your post-traumatic stress disorder can be very difficult on your own. Insurance companies will do everything they can to dispute the fact that your PTSD is work-related, you’ll have to gather medical evidence to prove your claim, and many times the claim will go to court, where you’ll have to present your case to a judge. Our lawyers at Powers & Caccavale know all about the inner-workings of insurance companies and are here to help you with all the paperwork and legwork involved with complex cases, such as with PTSD claims.
To find out more about how we can help you, contact our legal team at Powers & Caccavale today, by filling out our free case evaluation or by calling (617) 379-0016.