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Archive for the ‘Post-Traumatic Stress’ Category

Mental Health And Workers’ Compensation for First Responders

January 15th, 2019 at 12:26 pm

Chicago PTSD workers' compensation lawyerPost-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is often associated with soldiers returning from war, but it is also something that first responders can develop due to traumatic experiences at work. First responders are a broad category of people who work as firefighters, paramedics, police officers, and similar professions. With these jobs, workers are exposed to high levels of stress and trauma that most people are not accustomed to. In some cases, they may not have been personally affected by trauma, but are present for disturbing events, and this can have negative effects on their emotional health, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

After a person has witnessed or experienced a traumatic event, they may develop a mental health condition in which they struggle to deal with the emotional trauma that is affecting them. Those who suffer from PTSD often experience nightmares, anxiety, and flashbacks to the event. Immediately after a traumatic experience, people may have a hard time adjusting to their regular life, but the onset of PTSD can happen at any time after the incident.

Although first responders’ work can take a mental toll, they may also experience physical harm such as broken bones, burns, gunshot wounds, sprains, and joint injuries. These injuries can also lead to PTSD, and workers’ compensation may be needed for mental health treatment in addition to the treatment for physical injuries.

How to Identify Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Unlike a physical wound, mental health disorders are not always obvious. Sometimes, it takes a loved one to realize something is wrong. Being mindful of your mental health as a first responder may help you realize that you are suffering because of a traumatic experience.

Additional symptoms of PTSD include avoidance, detachment, depression, irritability, guilt, self-destructive actions, and insomnia. However, the symptoms can vary wildly for people diagnosed with PTSD, so it is important to be aware of any emotional issues you may be experiencing.

Getting Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation should cover the costs of treatment for PTSD related to experiences which occurred while on the job. For example, an Illinois firefighter received workers’ compensation benefits after developing PTSD following the death of another firefighter. Although the plaintiff was not in the dangerous house, it was ruled that he did not need to be among the flames to be disturbed by the death of one of his own.

Getting compensated for job-related mental health disorders is often less straightforward than a physical injury. When it comes to certain jobs, it could be argued that experiencing trauma is something a person voluntarily signed up for. However, mental health disorders can affect one’s ability to work safely in stressful conditions, and workers should not only receive the treatment they need, but they should have that treatment covered by worker’s comp benefits.

Contact a Cook County Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Mental health is an essential part of your well-being, and when that is disturbed due to a traumatic event at work, you deserve to be compensated. Get in touch with an experienced Chicago workers’ comp lawyer who will advocate on your behalf to help you receive the benefits you deserve. Call our office at 630-574-2288 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.alcohol.org/professions/first-responders/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

Emotional Trauma in the Workplace – Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

December 4th, 2018 at 9:44 am

Chicago worker compensation attorneyAt any given moment, 24.4 million Americans are grappling with the debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Brought on by a traumatic event, PTSD can happen to anyone, in any setting – including the workplace. Workers in “high stress” industries (i.e. law enforcement, firefighters, healthcare, etc.) are often educated on the symptoms of PTSD and screened after a traumatic event. 

The same cannot be said for workers in traditionally “low-stress” positions, however. Instead, their symptoms after a traumatic event may be discounted or overlooked, which can ultimately lead to long-term problems. Thankfully, by knowing and recognizing the signs of work-related PTSD, and by seeking the assistance of a skilled attorney, sufferers can increase their chances of obtaining fair compensation after a traumatic, work-related event. 

Signs and Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

While post-traumatic stress disorder can display itself differently from one person to the next, sufferers do tend to experience some common symptoms. These can include: 

  • Flashbacks or nightmares about the traumatic event;
  • Avoidance places, people, or situations related to the traumatic event (i.e. developing a phobia of elevators and avoiding them after seeing a robber come out of one, shooting);
  • Behavioral changes (otherwise known as arousal symptoms);
  • Sudden or uncharacteristic mood swings;
  • Insomnia or difficulty staying asleep;
  • Suicidal thoughts or feelings;
  • Loss of interest in your favorite activities;
  • Anxiety, aggression, or an overwhelming sense of fear;
  • Difficulty concentrating or problems with memory;
  • Strange or unexplainable physical symptoms (i.e. headaches, chills, heart palpitations, etc.); and
  • Avoidance of close family and friends (which can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression).

Keep in mind that such symptoms may not present immediately after a traumatic event. In fact, in some cases, the symptoms may take days, weeks, or even months to fully surface. As such, it is critical that workers file a detailed claim immediately after a traumatic work-related event. 

Contact Our Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Assistance with Your Claim

Mental health injuries are not just difficult to detect; they can also be difficult to prove when pursuing workers’ compensation. For example, an employee may claim that their PTSD was caused by a robbery, but if there is a history of mental illness, the insurance company may attempt to use it against the victim by saying they were already traumatized before the event occurred. If successful in their efforts, the claim would be denied and the victim would not receive compensation. As a result, they and their family may suffer unnecessarily. 

At the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio, we work hard to combat the insurance companies and increase the chances of a full and fair payout on your work injury claim. We can also assist you if your initial claim was wrongfully denied. Get started by scheduling a free consultation with our Cook County workers’ compensation lawyer. Call 630-574-2288 today.

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-are-symptoms-ptsd

https://academic.oup.com/occmed/article/63/3/175/1413569#21343130

http://www.ptsdunited.org/ptsd-statistics-2/

 

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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