Workers’ Compensation in PA for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
In today’s competitive work life where employees are continuously striving to deliver their best and become the best versions of themselves, they often feel overworked, burnt out and exhausted. In this quest to attain optimal results for themselves and their organizations, they may end up getting injured or witness any other worker suffering from an accident at work. Sometimes, when such accidents happen unexpectedly, they can have deep psychological effects on your mind. And this is what may lead to PTSD among workers.
Before we explain workers’ compensation benefits in PA for PTSD, let us first give you an overview of what this condition is and how it affects workers.
PTSD — what is it?
PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious medical condition that can occur to anyone at any point in time after experiencing or witnessing a significantly traumatic event. Such traumatic events can result in strong emotions that create changes in the brain, which tends to develop PTSD. PTSD can cause great distress to any person, thereby disrupting their personal and professional life.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect a person’s psychiatric health, thereby causing debilitating symptoms such as:
- Intense anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Feeling numb
- Avoidance behavior
In such a scenario, a worker suffering from PTSD after a work-related incident is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in PA for the related damages.
Top Causes for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the Workplace
PTSD is quite common in high-risk professions. Many professionals like police officers, emergency medical technicians, firefighter and more may experience it. However, any type of worker can be at risk if they work in a highly stressful or dangerous work environment.
Sometimes, a worker who has suffered from workplace injuries may recover physically, but they may experience PTSD symptoms persistently for years after the incident. In such a situation, the law of the State of Pennsylvania allows workers to file a claim for both their physical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Besides that, another cause of post-traumatic stress disorder and where you can claim workers’ compensation benefits is when you witness a co-worker suffer from a severe injury or die at work because of work-related tasks.
Here it is important to understand that the symptoms for post-traumatic stress disorder often get triggered by:
- Traumatic events like an active shooter incident or an armed robbery in the workplace
- Gruesome accidents at work
- Assaults at work
The Burden of Proof
Although workers’ compensation judges may award you benefits if you have been physically injured at work while performing your duties, it may be difficult to get compensated if you only suffer from mental stress unaccompanied with a physical injury.
That’s right: in order to obtain workers’ compensation benefits in PA, a worker is required to prove that they are going through PTSD because of an abnormal condition or a horrific accident they or someone else experienced at work.
Workers who sustain both physical and mental injuries are only required to prove the injuries they faced within the course and scope of their employment. In other words, they are not obligated to provide additional proof of the occurrence of mental disorder. But a PTSD victim without any physical injury is burdened with providing proof of an abnormal condition at work (like a natural disaster or extreme job stress or a workplace accident to someone else) that caused you PTSD.
All of this requires proper documentation from doctors and therapists, and testimonies from witnesses and experts. Furthermore, in this scenario, it is advisable to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer in PA who can help you file a claim for the mental injury and navigate the associated complexities, thereby increasing your odds of success.
How to File a PTSD Worker’s Compensation Claim in Pennsylvania
A workers’ compensation claim for a post-traumatic stress disorder in PA is quite similar to physical injury claims in the beginning. In order to file a claim, you, the victim will have to report the traumatic incident to your employer or supervisor immediately without any delay at within 30 days.
Thereafter, you, along with your employer, will have to fill out the workers’ compensation claim form and submit it to the insurance company of your employer. The paperwork included will ask you to provide details and description of the injuries and trauma claimed and how it occurred. Your employer will have 7 days to file this claim starting from the date you reported the injuries.
Once the claim request is received by the insurance company, they shall contact you for further investigation and information. Based on your statements and evidence provided, the insurance company will either accept or reject the claim.
If it is accepted, then the insurance company will enter compensation negotiations with you and your workers’ compensation lawyer in PA. With a lawyer by your side, you can be confident of getting a fair settlement as they will negotiate aggressively on your behalf. Also, if the insurance company rejects your claim, your lawyer can appeal the decision through the appropriate courts to initiate hearings and get you fairly compensated.
So, if you are suffering from PTSD because of any workplace-related incident, get in touch with us today. Discuss your case with our experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in PA and let us help you seek justice. Our lawyer will help you every step of the way to make sure that you get compensated for both your physical and mental injuries due to a workplace-related accident or an abnormal condition.