Can You Claim Compensation for Work-Related PTSD

Nov 10

PTSD affects approximately 3.5% of the population annually. Mental illness and PTSD related to work happen more often than people think. According to Mental Health America, 90% of workers say stress at work affects their mental health. Approximately 60% do not get the support they need to reduce work stress. 

The well-being of every employee should always be a priority for employers. But it often isn’t. If you have suffered PTSD and mental trauma because of your job, learn about your legal options below. You could be entitled to compensation in a PTSD personal injury or workers’ compensation claim. Talk to a workplace injury attorney at Blackburn Romey if you have questions about a case.


PTSD Causes

The major cause of PTSD is a traumatic event that most of us do not experience in everyday life. Events that trigger the condition could be a truck accident, worksite accident, amputation, or sexual assault. 

One of the most common job-based PTSD cases involves first responders. First responders often see a lot of trauma on the job. If your company does not offer enough support, you could file a PTSD personal injury claim. 

Another common cause of workplace PTSD is experiencing long-term trauma on the job. You could face excessive pressure, stress, and even discrimination daily for years. If you are under constant stress at work and there is no relief, talk to an attorney about making a claim.


Criteria For PTSD Diagnosis

Filing a claim for work-related PTSD means showing a diagnosis from a mental health professional. Some of the events that could lead to a PTSD diagnosis are: 

Being Exposed To A Traumatic Event At Work

First, you must have been exposed to a traumatic event on the job. What is defined as a traumatic event may vary, but it frequently involves death, violence, serious injury, or sexual trauma. Being exposed to a traumatic event means you were directly involved or witnessed it. It is not enough to have heard about the incident; you need to have seen it. 

For example, if you witness someone being injured or killed in a construction accident, this could be the basis of a PTSD claim. Also, if the employer was negligent and that led to the traumatic event, this would bolster your case. 

Other cases may involve a sexual assault on the job. If you were assaulted or saw an assault, you could receive compensation in a PTSD claim.

Re-Experienced The Traumatic Event

People with this disorder re-experience the traumatic event. This can occur with memories that recur often. For example, you may have traumatic dreams of what happened and even flashbacks. 

Some PTSD patients also have a physical reaction to something that reminds them of the trauma. For instance, if someone fell from a ladder at work and broke their neck, you could have a physical reaction to seeing people working on ladders. 

Avoiding Things That Remind You Of The Trauma

Next, people with PTSD try to avoid stimuli that remind them of what happened. For example, you might avoid cars, people, conversations, or areas that remind you of the incident. 

Altered Personality

The event must have demonstrably changed your personality or emotions. For example, you could be unable to remember some of the event. Or, you could have reduced self-esteem or other negative emotions. 

Recurring Negative Factors

People with PTSD also may have angry outbursts, poor impulse control, and trouble concentrating. Others become obsessive-compulsive. 

You must show all of these symptoms for at least a month to be diagnosed with PTSD. In addition, they must affect your activities of daily living at home or work.


When A Lawsuit Is Appropriate For Work-Related PTSD

Claiming damages for work-related PTSD requires the assistance of a skilled attorney. It’s possible to win a PTSD claim, but it takes strong evidence. You could receive compensation for work-related PTSD in these situations: 

  • You can prove a third party caused your PTSD. Some mental health issues have many causes, but PTSD is always connected to a specific trauma. So, you must show conclusive evidence that a third party’s negligence caused a traumatic event that affected your mental health. 
  • You have been diagnosed with PTSD by a mental health professional. Being diagnosed with PTSD is a complex process. You might link your condition to a difficult work situation if you have been diagnosed. 

To claim compensation, personal injury lawsuits must also show the losses you experienced due to your PTSD. This can include mental health treatment bills, lost income, or that you cannot perform your work duties as you did before. You might also seek compensation for pain and suffering in a third-party injury lawsuit that covers your PTSD. Your attorney can determine the extent of your losses.


PTSD Personal Injury Or Workers’ Compensation Claim?

You may be unsure if you need to make a personal injury or workers’ comp claim for your job-based PTSD. Workers’ comp is based on the company’s insurance plan, and there are limits to the money you can receive. However, you do not need to prove that someone’s negligence caused the accident to receive workers’ comp.

On the other hand, personal injury lawsuits are based on negligence, so you will need to provide evidence that someone unaffiliated with your employer was responsible for causing the accident. 

Damages are more limited in a workers’ compensation claim; for example, you cannot receive damages for pain and suffering. If you file a PTSD personal injury lawsuit, you may receive compensation for: 

  • Medical costs
  • Lost earnings
  • Future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Your attorney will advise of your options regarding a workers’ comp, personal injury claim, or both.


Contact Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys Today 

It is possible to get compensation in a work-based PTSD claim, but it can be challenging to prove. Your best chance to be compensated for your losses is to speak with an Indianapolis PTSD attorney at Blackburn Romey. Our attorneys are skilled in personal injury and workers’ comp law and will review your case at no cost. 

Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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