PTSD is a reality in many workplaces and in some instances, workers can receive workers’ compensation for it.
Back injuries, muscle strains, and inhaling toxic fumes are just a few of the most common workplace injuries. However, there is another injury sustained on the job that is starting to get more attention. That injury is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it is a real problem for many workers. Firefighters, law enforcement officers, and paramedics are just a few types of workers who may suffer from PTSD. When they do, they often wonder if this injury is covered under the workers’ compensation system in Florida.
Causes of PTSD
A person can develop PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event, or even learning about one. The events that can cause the disorder typically involve actual injury, death, or a violation of a sexual nature. Even the threat of these events can cause PTSD.
Doctors still do not understand why some people develop PTSD and others do not, even when they have seen or learned of the same situation. There are a few factors that may contribute to someone developing PTSD. These include the severity of the stressful event, a family history of mental health problems, a person’s temperament, and the way a person’s brain manages the chemicals and hormones released by the body in response to stress.
How PTSD Affects a Person’s Ability to Work
There are two main characteristics of PTSD that make it extremely difficult for a person to work when suffering from the disorder. The first is that he or she relives the traumatic event. When this happens, it is as though the traumatic experience is happening all over again and it is just as stressful as it was the first time the person lived through it. This often makes working impossible, as a person cannot concentrate on work.
The other characteristic of PTSD is that it often causes sufferers to withdraw and avoid certain situations. This does not only include events similar to the one that caused the PTSD, but also situations in which one would have to speak to other people or take part in certain activities. This also causes problems with a person’s ability to work.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover PTSD?
The Florida legislature debated for years whether or not PTSD should be covered under workers’ compensation. In September of 2018, lawmakers determined that workers’ compensation should cover PTSD, but it only applies to certain workers. These are first responders such as paramedics, firefighters, and police officers. It makes sense that these individuals would be covered for the disorder under workers’ comp, but still, many say the law is too limited.
To be covered under workers’ compensation, workers must show that they have sustained a shock to the consciousness. Under the current law, there are only eight scenarios considered to be a great enough shock to the consciousness, which many people feel is too restrictive. Additionally, many also believe that workers’ compensation should cover PTSD for all workers, not only a certain few.
Need Help with Your Workers’ Comp Claim? Call Our Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Although workers’ compensation now covers PTSD for certain workers, without a physical injury, it can be difficult to prove. If you wish to file a claim, you should not do it on your own. At Rooth Law Firm, our Tampa Bay workers’ compensation lawyer can assist with the claims process and give you the best chance of success. Call us today at (727) 849-3400 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.