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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects approximately 7.7 million Americans annually. It can be brought on by wartime experiences, abuse or an attack. Its effects are often debilitating and can lead to many other issues such as anxiety and depression. If PTSD is brought on by something that happens at work, you can file a worker’s compensation claim.
If you suffer from PTSD, the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) guarantees your right to file a worker’s comp claim. Should the claim be accepted, you can receive payment for medical expenses or disability for wage loss. PTSD requires time to heal, which means missed work and visits to a variety of doctors. If you never fully heal, you can receive compensation for permanent mental health impairment.
It’s estimated that as many as 30 percent of combat veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress in some fashion. While those who have served in the military most commonly suffer from the disease, they are not the only ones. Victims of assault or abuse suffer as well; approximately 10 percent of women will have PTSD at some point in their lives, compared to about four percent of men. At any given time, a total of 24 million Americans could be suffering from PTSD.
Anxiety disorders, in general, come at an annual cost of more than $42 billion annually, usually because of misdiagnosis. If PTSD isn’t treated properly, that just means more doctors visits, more prescriptions and more time missed from work. If more doctors and psychiatrists become well-versed in the handling and treatment of PTSD, then the costs can go down.
Worker’s compensation handles injuries that occur in the workplace for employees. The short answer is yes, a person who suffers from PTSD can file for and receive worker’s comp. However, two things have to be true:
The first is easy to claim worker’s comp; the event while working is the cause of physical and/or emotional problems related to PTSD. The second is much more difficult for worker’s comp to prove. This a problem in general for those who suffer from post-traumatic stress.
The symptoms of PTSD are often difficult to notice for an outside observer. The problems you face are very real, and your doctor recognizes them as such, but unfortunately, they’re not the only ones you would have to convince. Insurance agents and claims evaluators still remain largely skeptical of post-traumatic stress, purely because the issues it causes may not be immediately visible. PTSD wasn’t even recognized as a verifiable illness with specific symptoms until 1980, but it is now recognized as an ongoing and difficult challenge for those who suffer from it.
Given the complex nature of workers’ compensation claims involving PTSD, it is always a good idea to speak with an Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you navigate the law. Tackling the system on your own, in addition to already existing conditions may only make the problem worse, so speak with a qualified legal team today.