Workers’ Compensation: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a crippling and debilitating condition that can keep people from functioning normally. This includes being able to get up and go to work every day and perform their job. Depending on the circumstances, they may be able to qualify for workers’ compensation that could cover their lost wages and the cost of their treatment.  Contact our trusted San Jose worker’s comp attorneys today to discuss your situation.

Requirements for a PTSD Workers’ Compensation Claims

California law allows for workers’ compensation for PTSD subject to the following:

  • PTSD has been diagnosed by a medical professional, and it requires medical treatment
  • Employment is the “predominant” cause of the PTSD

Generally, this means that something traumatic and extremely stressful happened at work to cause the debilitating PTSD. This could be a physical attack or a frightening accident that caused severe distress and fear. However, whether the employment was a “predominant” cause of the PTSD will often be in dispute.

When You May Qualify for Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation for people with PTSD could be available for people who work in intense and high-stress fields, such as:

  • Policemen
  • People who suffered from Traumatic Event
  • Someone who was Robbed
  • Someone who was assaulted
  • First responders

These benefits may also be claimed by people who suffered an extremely stressful situation at work. For example, a store clerk who was the victim of a holdup may have PTSD and be extremely afraid of going back to work again. However, the claimant will need to tie the PTSD to the nature of the job or something specific that happened on the job.

Insurance Companies May Deny PTSD Claims

Injuries that cannot readily be seen are often a matter of dispute in workers’ compensation claims. The insurance company does not like to believe what it cannot see neatly in front of it on the four corners of a paper. The insurance company will challenge these on two grounds:

  • They will contest that you actually suffer from PTSD
  • They will argue that your PTSD had nothing to do with your job

Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Your Claim

The effect is the same. Insurance companies may deny these claims more often than a standard workers’ compensation claim, and you may need to fight the denial through an appeal. Workers’ compensation laws give you the right to an appeal, which can be heard by administrative law judges. To file the most effective appeal, you should hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The insurance company does not have the final say over your legal right to compensation. You should expect that you will need to go through this process when you file a claim for workers’ compensation for PTSD.

If you suffer from PTSD and you believe that it came from your job, you must come forward and file a claim to receive benefits. This will first require that you notify your employer of your condition. Many people hesitate to do this because of the stigma associated with PTSD, but the law requires notice.