Believe it or not, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD may be more common than you think and it is not limited to war veterans, as some people think. According to some reports, as many as 8% of all Americans will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. But is PTSD recognized as a viable Workers Compensation claim? Let our Rogers Workers Compensation attorney explain.
The purpose of Workers Compensation benefits
The purpose of Workers Compensation benefits in every state, including Kansas, is to provide health care benefits to employees who are injured on the job while eliminating the need to file a lawsuit in court. The Kansas Workers Compensation system is designed so that the injured employee receives compensation for the work-related injuries and agrees not to file a legal action against the employer. As the employee, you are not required to prove negligence or liability in order to be compensated for his injuries; making it essentially a no-fault system. Here are some of the most important Workers Compensation rules that apply in Kansas.
The definition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an emotional or psychological injury experienced as the result of witnessing a traumatic event. In the context of the workplace, PTSD can result from the witnessing something extremely stressful at the workplace or, for some, it could be the nature of the job itself, like police officers or first responders.
Historically, PTSD was associated primarily with war veterans who often witnessed carnage, including the loss of fellow servicemen or their own traumatic injuries. Health care professionals are now beginning to realize that there are many other situations totally unrelated to war that can result in PTSD. Not everyone suffers symptoms of PTSD that are severe enough to be disabling. But for those whose workplace trauma prevents them from functioning daily, they may have a claim for workers compensation benefits.
Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD
Some incidents in the workplace can make it difficult for an employee to return to work or fulfill their job duties. For example, someone can be assaulted at work or an accidental injury could be very gruesome or fatal. If you witness an event like this and it results in symptoms of PTSD, you may have a claim.
Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include having flashbacks and nightmares, getting startled easily, being angry, irritable or violent, experiencing emotional detachment or violent behavior. In some situations, people suffering from PTSD can also be self-destructive, obsessive-compulsive, or have issues with memory and concentration. There may also be physical symptoms, as well, including headaches, fatigue, ulcers gastrointestinal problems, heart attacks, and high blood pressure.
Proving PTSD symptoms can be a challenge
The bad news is that it can be a real challenge to prove your PTSD symptoms and prove that they are related to a work event. Another issue is that emotional distress injuries are typically not covered under workers compensation benefits, so if your PTSD symptoms are not physical you may have a difficult time establishing your claim. Let our Rogers workers compensation attorney help.
Workers Compensation Benefits in Kansas
Workers’ Compensation benefits will cover reasonably necessary medical care you receive as a result of a work-related illness or injury. Workers’ Compensation insurance is maintained by your employer at no cost to you. Still, you are responsible for reporting all work-related accidents or injuries to your employer as soon as they happen. It is important to understand that your employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier has the right to choose which doctor will provide your medical care for your work-related injury or illness.
Workers Compensation retaliation is illegal in Kansas
In Kansas, as in most states, an employee may not be terminated in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. In order to have a claim for unlawful retaliation, an employee can show either that a workers’ compensation claim was filed or that the employee suffered an injury for which a workers’ compensation claim could have been filed. The employee must also show that the employer knew of the injury and terminated the employee because the workers’ compensation claim was or could have been filed. Furthermore, employees who were retaliated against in a different way, short of termination, such as those who are suspended or demoted, may also have a workers’ compensation retaliation claim against their employer.
If you have questions regarding post-traumatic stress disorder or any other worker’s comp claims in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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