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Workers’ Compensation Benefits and PTSD

 Posted on November 10,2022 in Workers Compensation

Santa Clara County workers' compensation lawyerIn today’s world, we are more aware of mental health concerns than perhaps ever before. As a result, we have learned a great deal about a variety of conditions that were previously considered to be “no big deal,” but that can be downright debilitating in many situations. A good example of this can be found with post-traumatic stress syndrome, commonly abbreviated as PTSD. What was once thought of as “battle fatigue” or “shell shock” and associated mainly with military members who saw combat is now known to be a danger for nearly anyone who has gone through or witnessed an especially scary, dangerous, or shocking experience.

Post-traumatic stress syndrome can become a major concern for those who have been in car crashes, those who were assaulted or raped, and even those who suffered or witnessed a tragic event on the job. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with PTSD due to an incident that occurred at work, workers’ compensation benefits may be available.

Common PTSD Symptoms

It is nearly impossible to know for certain how many Americans deal with PTSD in their lives because many are hesitant to come forward and seek treatment. In fact, many do not even realize the extent of their problems. Federal estimates suggest that as many as 12 million people in the United States have PTSD in a typical year, with millions more experiencing trauma that could cause the condition to develop.

Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Severe depression, often associated with “survivor’s guilt”

  • Nightmares

  • “Flashbacks” to the triggering event

  • Insomnia

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Memory loss

Unfortunately, another common symptom of PTSD is erratic and sometimes violent behavior, which can have serious consequences for the sufferer’s family.

PTSD Caused by a Work-Related Incident

While PTSD is now recognized as a potentially serious mental health disorder by the medical community at large, it can be difficult for a person to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits for the condition. In the state of California, it is possible to get work comp benefits for PTSD, but some workers’ comp insurance carriers may reject such a claim based on what might be considered a loophole in the law.

Workers’ compensation benefits are available in California to employees who were injured in the course of performing their jobs, but such benefits do not include reimbursement for pain and suffering or for “normal” stressors in the workplace. Therefore, if you hope to collect workers’ comp benefits for PTSD, your condition will likely need to be linked to a single identifiable triggering event.

For example, an office executive who is dealing with depression that is at least partly caused by a stressful work environment and pressure from their supervisors will probably not qualify for work comp benefits. However, a worker in a steel foundry who witnessed a coworker’s death on the job or a bank teller who was robbed at gunpoint would have a better case for benefits based on a PTSD diagnosis.

A Santa Clara County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help

To learn more about qualifying for workers’ compensation benefits for mental health concerns, including PTSD, contact an experienced Gilroy workers’ comp attorney at Cramer + Martinez. Call 408-848-1113 for a free consultation and case review with a member of our team today.


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