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Will workers’ compensation cover PTSD?

Mental stress is common in all job types. Very few workers in the United States escape its clutches. But when it comes to stress that comes from on-the-job injuries or otherwise debilitating events, workers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may find it difficult to perform everyday working duties.

Even though an estimated 7-8% of Americans will experience PTSD, it is rare that PTSD will warrant an immediate claim award. A dislocated shoulder from a fall at work is a pretty straightforward injury. But mental distress and other related effects are not as easy to prove, nor are they as easy to identify – even when experts are involved.

The claims process for PTSD

It is likely that your employer’s insurance company will be diligent in verifying the legitimacy of your PTSD, just as they would for any standard workers’ comp claim. You may have even received a diagnosis from a psychiatric professional, but that will probably not stop insurance companies from covering all bases. They will likely want to take full advantage of the fact that PTSD is a condition that cannot be seen in an X-ray, like a broken bone would. 

Proving PTSD may seem like a difficult task. But if you take the right steps regarding your condition, there should be a backing of evidence that can help you with your claim. A simple diagnosis, as mentioned, may not be enough. Depending on the word of your legal representative, you will want to cover these bases:

  • Well-documented, regular medical and psychiatric visits are vital.
  • You should keep a journal of how your condition affects your job duties.
  • You may also want to have statements from family members and friends who may have noticed changes in your behavior since your work-related incident.
  • Ensure you have documentation on incidents related to your mental state, especially those at the workplace, that occurred post-injury.

Every case is different and comes with its own unique complications. Note also that the workers’ compensation process is never perfect. Should you receive a denial for your claim, you still have options for appeal.

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