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Can workers’ compensation cover post traumatic stress disorder?

As you already know, workers' compensation exists to aid members of the workforce who suffer an injury on the job. It provides workers with financial compensation for lost wages and pays for any medical care needed because of the injury.

Like other states, Massachusetts recognizes some workers' compensation claims centered on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While PTSD is often associated with veterans of war or survivors of violent crimes, the disorder can arise after trauma of any kind. In order for PTSD to qualify as a valid workers' compensation claim, victims must prove the condition is job-related.

For example, ambulance or police personnel responding to the scene of an accident or crime may witness the brutal death or catastrophic injury of a person. Later, the first responder may begin suffering symptoms of PTSD and require treatment to continue functioning. In most cases, workers' compensation would apply with little to no difficulty.

In another example, if someone witnesses a work accident resulting in the death of a coworker, he or she may go on to develop symptoms of PTSD. Because this condition arose due to an on the job event, such an incident may also qualify as a valid claim.

Finally, if a person already suffering from non-work-related PTSD experiences something at work that triggers his or her symptoms, there is a chance that workers' compensation may apply. Of all three examples, this last one would be the most difficult to prove. However, it is not impossible to obtain benefits, especially if the victim seeks a legal opinion about his or her case.

Acquiring workers' compensation for a mental or emotional condition related to work is challenging, but it is worth the effort in order to get the treatment necessary for recovery.

Source: FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog, "Can You Get Workers' Comp for PTSD?," Brett Snider, accessed March 13, 2018

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