People experience trauma in the workplace in many different ways. First responders like police officers or firefighters could become traumatized after seeing the horrific injuries other people experience in a crash or witnessing the death of another person. Those who work in retail settings could develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a robbery.
Fires, car crashes, criminal assaults, manufacturing accidents and even inclement weather can all traumatize people and lead to the development of PTSD. Can workers traumatized on the job make workers’ compensation benefits claims for PTSD in North Carolina?
Workers’ compensation does cover both mental and physical conditions
Workers can file a claim for benefits related to any sort of disabling medical condition they develop because of their job. The right to benefits is the same regardless of whether someone has a mental disorder or a physical injury, like a broken leg.
Still, it is much easier to prove a physical medical condition than a mental one. The connection between the issue and someone’s employment may also be more obvious. Workers are likely to report any incident that leads to a physical wound, but not those that lead to stress, anxiety or emotional pain.
PTSD can affect someone’s earning potential and ability to perform their job. Symptoms of PTSD range from hypervigilance to irritability. Even memory issues can be a result of unaddressed trauma. It’s not hard to see how these symptoms could impact someone’s job performance.
Workers may need support and therapy to overcome their symptoms and get back to work. With the right documentation and help during the application process, some workers with PTSD may be able to qualify for benefits.
Lawmakers could soon improve PTSD eligibility
Although psychological conditions qualify for workers’ compensation coverage, getting benefits could still be an uphill battle. Lawmakers have taken steps to make PTSD coverage more accessible, particularly for those who accept an increased risk of trauma because of their public service.
First Responders who develop PTSD because of their job could soon have an easier time getting workers’ compensation if the state bill that recently passed the house also passes in the Senate. All of the frontline workers who risk mental trauma from their jobs could benefit if this bill eventually becomes law.
Understanding when workers’ compensation benefits are available can help those struggling because of a work-related medical condition get the benefits they deserve.