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Archive for May, 2021

Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim for PTSD?

May 7th, 2021 at 8:03 pm

ptsdIn the early 1900s when soldiers started coming back from combat in World War I, physicians began to notice that many of the soldiers were experiencing the same type of psychological symptoms for months or even years after returning. This phenomenon was dubbed “shell shock,” which then evolved into “combat fatigue” after soldiers returned from World War II. Now, we know that this illness is called post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, as it is more commonly referred to. Though it is still frequently associated with military members, PTSD can happen to anyone, anywhere, and in various situations. Sometimes, a person’s line of work can be the cause of PTSD, or exacerbate existing mental conditions. But does that allow them to file a workers’ compensation claim for PTSD?

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Everyone typically experiences distress or other symptoms of PTSD after a traumatic event, but symptoms usually subside gradually. When symptoms do not go away and affect a person’s daily life, there’s a high chance that the person has developed PTSD. Main symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks or continuous intrusive memories about the event. Often, these can be extreme and can even make the person feel as if they are reliving the event.
  • Avoiding things that remind the person about the event. This may mean the person refuses to talk about what happened or avoids going to certain places or interacting with certain people who remind them of the traumatic event.
  • Various emotional and behavioral changes. People who have PTSD often experience many negative thoughts and feelings that can lead them to distort the reality around the situation, think negatively about themselves, be detached from others, and no longer find joy in things that they used to enjoy.
  • Changes in reactivity. This can include violent outbursts, behaving recklessly, being irritable, being easily startled, or even concentration and memory issues.

PTSD and Illinois Workers’ Compensation

There have been various Illinois Supreme Court cases that support workers’ compensation coverage for PTSD. The Supreme Court has held that a mental injury like PTSD does not have to be precipitated by a physical injury, unlike in past years. For a PTSD diagnosis to be considered a work injury, the PTSD must be linkable to an event that happened because of and during the person’s line of work. This is known as the “mental-mental” theory of recovery for workers’ compensation claims. The Illinois Supreme Court states specifically that PTSD can be covered under workers’ compensation if the employee “suffers a sudden, severe emotional shock traceable to a definite time, place and cause…though no physical trauma or injury was sustained.”

Our Chicago, IL Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help

In some cases, it can be difficult for physicians or evaluators to determine whether or not your PTSD is directly caused by something that happened at work and they may try to deny your claim. It is important to remember that mental conditions, including PTSD, are covered under worker’s compensation, so you have a right to file a claim. At the Law Offices of Francis J Discipio, we can help you collect documentation and file a claim for compensation for PTSD. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Cook County workers’ compensation attorneys, call our office today at 630-574-2288.

 

Sources:

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd

https://courts.illinois.gov/opinions/workerscomp/2013/2120294wc.pdf

 

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