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PTSD and Workers’ Compensation

December 11, 2019

In the past, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was known as shell shock or combat fatigue. Psychiatrists now recognize that PTSD is not limited to soldiers. Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event, such as a horrific accident or violent assault, can suffer from PTSD. Those who suffer from PTSD may not be aware that workers’ compensation benefits may be available if the event occurred at work.

In the state of New Jersey, PTSD may qualify for workers’ compensation as either an occupational disease or an accidental injury. Because PTSD is typically triggered by a terrible event, it is different than average job stress. A worker may be involved in a terrible work accident and eventually recover from physical injuries, yet still experience nightmares, flashbacks, depression, and anxiety for years to come. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for PTSD does not begin until the date when the employee knows or should know that they sustained a compensable PTSD disease or injury.

What are the Symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD symptoms vary widely and include both mental and physical responses. Victims may experience the following:

  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Depression
  • Emotional detachment
  • Fatigue
  • Flashbacks, nightmares, or sleep disorders
  • Headaches
  • Heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Ulcers

Those who suffer from PTSD often find themselves re-experiencing the original trauma, especially if they are exposed to reminders of the event.

PTSD in the Workplace

Some states recognize the increased risk of PTSD among first responders and have enacted workers’ compensation laws to specifically address those occupations. The laws in New Jersey cover all types of workers in recognition that many different types of employees may experience work-related PTSD, including:

  • A construction worker who witnessed a gruesome, fatal accident
  • A teacher trying to protect students during a school shooting
  • A supervisor held hostage by an armed, disgruntled former employee

Nearly one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD at some point in their lives; women are twice as likely to experience PTSD.

Obtaining Workers’ Compensation Coverage for PTSD

If you suffer from PTSD and you believe your condition is work-related, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Other important steps to follow include:

  • Obtaining a formal diagnosis of PTSD by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist
  • Reporting your condition to your employer as soon as possible
  • Receiving regular, ongoing medical treatment from certified specialists

Insurance companies may scrutinize PTSD workers’ compensation claims extremely closely. To get the benefits you deserve, seek out legal counsel from an experienced Cherry Hill workers’ compensation lawyer.

Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP Strive to Maximize Benefits for Workers with PTSD

If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD due to a traumatic incident at work, contact a Cherry Hill workers’ compensation lawyer at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP today. We will work diligently to review your claim promptly and build a strong case on your behalf. From our office in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we help injured workers throughout South Jersey, including Camden, Cinnaminson, Delran, Maple Shade, and Pennsauken. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-761-3773.

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