Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by a traumatizing event, such as a severe work accident. It can start to occur within a few weeks of the traumatic event. Common symptoms of PTSD include:
- Re-experiencing intrusive memories.
- Avoidance related to the event.
- Negative moods or thoughts.
- Experiencing changes in emotional or physical reactions, including becoming easily startled.
About eight percent of the American population will develop post-traumatic stress disorder at some point. About 32 percent of first responders will experience PTSD as well.
Can I Collect Compensation for Work-Related PTSD?
Some states are beginning to introduce bills to permit first responders to collect workers’ compensation based on psychological trauma. In Pennsylvania, there is a proposed bill that will allow mental injury claims under workers’ compensation. The bill has not yet become law. Currently, workers will likely have to demonstrate that they also have a physical injury that accompanies the mental injury in order to be eligible for compensation.
For some injuries, like an amputation or a brain injury, it will not be difficult to show the psychological effects associated with their physical impairments. If the mental injury is related to a traumatic event but the worker did not sustain a physical injury, qualifying for compensation may be much more difficult to achieve.
How is PTSD Diagnosed?
Many experts will argue that psychological changes associated with PTSD can severely impact an employee’s ability to do their job in a safe and effective way. A worker with PTSD can also suffer from depression, anxiety, and anger problems.
Difficulties can arise in diagnosing PTSD since there is no definitive medical test to prove it. PTSD should be diagnosed by a mental health professional who can utilize the widely-accepted mental health diagnostic practices in their field. Often, family members and friends will urge the victim to seek out a mental health professional. Typically, the quicker a person is diagnosed, the sooner they can address their new challenges in healthier ways. Additionally, an assessment from a mental health professional is necessary if the employee is unable to work and wishes to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
Chester County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC Provide Skilled Legal Representation to Employees with Mental Injuries
If your mental health is impacted because of a traumatic work accident, it is wise to seek legal assistance. For help with your mental injury claim, speak to a Chester County workers’ compensation lawyer at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation today. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we proudly assist clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.