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Archive for the ‘ptsd’ tag

Appellate Court Ruling Could Affect of Workers’ Comp for High-Risk Industries

May 5th, 2017 at 8:07 pm

Illinois workers comp lawyer, Illinois job injury attorneyThere are certain jobs in which the risk of death is known. For example, firefighters and law enforcement officers know and understand that fatality is a possibility. Unfortunately, that knowledge does not make witnessing the death of a partner or colleague any easier. Some may even be at risk for serious trauma issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may leave them unable to return to work.

Typically, workers’ compensation covers injuries in which employees are unable to work; some even include psychological work-related injuries, such as PTSD. However, these high-risk industries have not, historically, offered such compensation. That may soon change, thanks to a recent Illinois Appellate Court ruling.

Firefighter Claims Workers’ Compensation for PTSD

Court documents outline how a fire lieutenant/paramedic was directed to take command of an incident during a house fire in March of 2010. Shortly after he took over, a flashover occurred. One firefighter, who was in obvious physical distress, was brought out of the building by two others. That injured firefighter ended up dying.

After having their fire house covered for a week after the loss, the lieutenant struggled to return to his regular duties. He claimed he was having nightmares, struggled to fall asleep, and even experienced issues when trying to interact with other people (his family included). His attorney allegedly suggested he see a psychiatrist, who then diagnosed him with PTSD. The lieutenant returned to work in October of 2010 and was released from treatment in December, but then returned to treatment just one month later. He claimed he was struggling with feelings of guilt and could not shut the incident out. His attorney then allegedly referred him to a psychotherapist. The lieutenant was then diagnosed with chronic PTSD.

Denied Claim Goes to Illinois Appellate Court

Originally, the lieutenant’s claim was denied; an arbitrator ruled that it was not an injury, but rather a tragic risk and consequence of the job. Further, the arbitrator stated that the lieutenant did not witness the injury, nor did he witness his team member’s death, which nullified his claim. The Illinois Appellate Court, who heard his case after it was denied, disagreed. They ruled that he had, in fact, experienced emotional shock during the incident, and stated it had been the cause of his psychological injury. As such, the original ruling was overturned.

The Appellate Ruling and Your Claim

While the recent ruling does suggest that psychological injuries are starting to get the attention they deserve, many are still at risk for a denial of their claims. Further, psychologically injured employees that work within high-risk industries may be even more likely to experience a denial, even after this ground-breaking case. Such industries can include everything from law enforcement and emergency response to construction work.

Reduce your risk of a denied workers’ compensation claim with help from the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio. Dedicated and experienced, our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys fight for the most favorable outcome possible. We protect your rights, and your best interests, every step of the way. Learn more about how we can assist with your case. Call 630-574-2288 and schedule your consultation today.

 

Source:

https://casetext.com/case/moran-v-ill-workers-comp-commn

Mental Suffering and Workers’ Compensation in Illinois

November 27th, 2015 at 6:11 pm

mental suffering, PTSD, Illinois worker's compensation attorneyWorkplace injuries cannot always been seen with the eye or even with an X-ray or MRI. Some workplace injuries come in the form of mental trauma or mental illness. These injures are often just as serious as physical injuries. However, there are some challenges to making a successful workers’ compensation claim for mental trauma.

What Types of Mental Suffering Can be Compensated?

Not all types of mental suffering or trauma are equal. If your job stresses you out or you cringe every time your boss yells at you, you may be undergoing a legitimate form of mental suffering, but in most cases it is probably not the type of thing that you can get worker’s compensation benefits for.

The classic example of mental injuries that are compensated under the worker’s compensation system is when an employee develops post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, because of some type of workplace violence. The mental trauma does not have to be this severe to qualify for benefits, but it does need to have an identifiable cause.

Challenges to Successfully Bringing a Claim

These types of claims are challenging to win because of the personal nature of mental suffering.  Often arbitrators and defense attorneys are suspicious of anyone without a physical injury making a worker’s compensation claim.

In order to overcome this suspicion it is vital that you have a history of seeking and receiving treatment. No panel is going to take your word that you are suffering from a mental illness caused by working conditions. You will need medical records from a licensed therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist.

It is also important that you report your injury as soon as possible to your employer. While this can be uncomfortable, the law requires employees to report workplace injuries as soon as they are discovered. Failure to make a timely report of the injury can be reason to have your claim denied.

What Kind of Accommodations are Required?

Employers must make the same kinds of accommodations to an employee suffering from a mental injury as they do with an employee with a physical injury. This may mean light duty, or a change in the work location.

Every case is unique. However, employers have several different legal obligations to make reasonable accommodations for your workplace injury, whether it is physical or mental.

If you have questions about workers’ compensation or mental suffering from a work accident, you need to contact a skilled and experienced DuPage County workers’ compensation attorney right away to protect your rights. Call the Law Offices of Frank J. Discipio at 630-574-2288 to schedule a consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.iwcc.il.gov/act.pdf

http://www.iwcc.il.gov/benefits.htm

 

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