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Archive for the ‘ptsd’ tag

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/

 

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

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