Many workplace injuries occur during catastrophic events. Cave-ins or long-distance falls at a construction site, someone being run over by a piece of equipment or violence at the hands of an intruder or another employee are just a few examples of events that can traumatize those who experienced or witnessed them.
Even first responders who often deal with traumatic events every day aren’t immune to suffering PTSD. A particular incident can cause it or an accumulation of what they witness on a regular basis can bring it about.
Symptoms of PTSD can impact the ability to return to work
It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a traumatic workplace injury -– even if they weren’t the one injured. The anxiety, flashbacks, uncontrollable thoughts, guilt, anger and other symptoms of PTSD can make it difficult, if not impossible, for a person to return to their workplace unless and until they receive treatment from a mental health professional for the condition.
Workers’ compensation professionals should be aware of the possibility of employees developing PTSD that requires treatment and prevents them from returning to work for a time – or perhaps ever to that same job. It’s not uncommon for someone suffering from PTSD to be unable to return to the scene of a traumatic event.
Seek the workers’ comp to which you’re entitled
If you believe that you are suffering from PTSD or another mental health issue as the result of a work-related trauma, it’s important to seek help. A diagnosis by a psychiatrist or other therapist can help you get the workers’ compensation you need for treatment and the time off work you need to heal.
Even if your physical injuries have healed (or you didn’t suffer physical injuries), you have every right to express your concerns about your mental health. It can be more difficult to get workers’ comp when the injuries you’ve suffered aren’t visible. Moreover, there’s still a stigma about mental health issues among some people. If you’re having difficulty getting the workers’ comp benefits you need and deserve, an experienced attorney may be able to help you.