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Archive for the ‘ptsd’ tag

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

 

Treatments for Work-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

January 28th, 2021 at 10:03 am

IL workers comp lawyer, IL PTSD attorney Certain jobs can carry significant risks compared to other occupations. For example, police officers, firefighters, and paramedics can be exposed to dangerous conditions on a regular basis. Much of their work involves dealing with extreme situations, such as a car accident, explosion, or othe types of catastrophic events. While performing the duties of their jobs, these workers can sustain physical injuries such as gunshot wounds, burns, or broken bones. In addition, they can suffer mental and emotional scars, too. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a frightening event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety, and more. Filing a workers’ compensation claim may alleviate some of the financial hardship if a person is unable to work because of work-related post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mental Health Rehabilitation

Although any traumatic event can trigger feelings of anxiety, fear, or depression, many times these symptoms go away after a period of time. However, when they last a long time and hinder someone from performing their job or normal activities, he or she may be diagnosed with PTSD. Obtaining the appropriate treatment after PTSD symptoms surface can be crucial to reduce the severity of them and any long-lasting effects on a person’s mental state. The goal is to change any disruptive thought patterns. This might occur through talking about the trauma or concentrating on where the fears actually come from.

Some of the common way to treat PTSD patients include the following cognitive-behavioral therapies:

  • Group, family, or individual therapy: Talking one-on-one with a professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist who is a neutral party can help deal with your emotions.
  • Cognitive processing therapy: Talking about the traumatic event with a therapist and writing down details about the incident can help the victim process what happened.
  • Prolonged exposure therapy: Learning breathing techniques to alleviate anxiety, and confronting things you may have been avoiding.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: Concentrating on movement made by a therapist such as a hand waving, flashing a light, or a sound while thinking about something positive while you remember your trauma.
  • Stress inoculation training: Focusing on changing how to deal with the stress from the event, including massage and breathing techniques and other ways to stop negative thoughts through relaxation.

Under the Illinois workers compensation law, any disability caused by PTSD that is work-related should be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. However, workers’ comp insurance companies often deny claims for PTSD. That is why you need an experienced attorney to fight for your rights so you can receive the compensation you need and deserve in order to recover and move on with your life.

Call an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Injuries from a work accident can include post-traumatic stress disorder, which can impact a person’s ability to function and return to work. If you or your loved one is suffering from PTSD, it is important to seek medical attention for this debilitating condition. In addition, you may be wondering what your options are regarding compensation. A qualified Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio can help you. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a workplace injury can have on an employee as well as his or her family. Call us today at 630-574-2288 to request a free consultation and learn more.

 

Sources:

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

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-are-treatments-for-posttraumatic-stress-disorder#1

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=082003050K8

https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/iwcc/about/Pages/insurance.aspx

 

Research Points to Effective Treatment for First Responder PTSD

August 31st, 2020 at 11:56 am

IL workers comp lawyer, IL PTSD attorney, First responders, including police officers, EMTs, and firefighters, experience dangerous, stressful, and traumatic situations on a regular basis during the course of their work, and psychiatric research shows that this comes with a greater risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, some studies indicate a PTSD prevalence of around 30 percent for first responders compared to a rate closer to 10 percent for the general population. Many first responders require mental health treatment for their PTSD, which can often be covered through workers’ compensation benefits.

A Four-Phase Treatment Process for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

In a 2018 study published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry, researchers examined the effectiveness of a four-phase program for treating PTSD for first responders. The phases are:

  1. Diagnostic assessment: In this phase, mental health professionals seek to understand a patient’s symptoms including nightmares, flashbacks, substance abuse, and trouble sleeping, as well as the patient’s history, concurrent medical conditions, and ability to function. This allows for the development of a treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs.
  2. Symptom stabilization and skills training: This phase can include inpatient care for patients at risk for self-harm, as well as training in self-care, safety planning, distress tolerance, resilience, and emotional regulation, which can help patients manage the symptoms of PTSD.
  3. Trauma-focused processing: In this phase, patients undergo treatments including cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure, which help them manage their reactions to stimuli associated with their traumatic experiences.
  4. Consolidation and aftercare: In this phase, patients focus on self-assessment and maintenance of their progress, as well as the management of new stressors in their work and the rebuilding of social and work relationships.

The researchers concluded that treatment throughout these phases often leads to positive strides for patients, but that the treatment of PTSD can be an ongoing process that requires long-term maintenance, and sometimes a return to an earlier phase.

Pursuing Compensation for PTSD Treatment

If you are a first responder coping with PTSD, you may find it reassuring to know that treatment is available. However, it is also important to ensure that you can cover the expenses of your treatment through workers’ compensation. An attorney can work with you to obtain testimony from mental health professionals, family members, and friends who can attest to the impact of PTSD on your life and your need for treatment so that you can present a strong case for the full amount you need.

Contact a Cook County Workers’ Compensation Attorney

At the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio, we know how much first responders give of themselves in service to their communities, and we want to help you get the treatment you need to maintain a high quality of life and continue performing your job to the best of your ability. Contact a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer today at 630-574-2288 to request a free consultation.

 

Source:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6624844/#:~:text=EMDR%20has%20been%20studied%20as,with%20the%20first%2Dresponder%20population.

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