Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health issue that sometimes occurs after individuals experience or witness a distressing or life-threatening event. Symptoms of PTSD include frequently reliving the incident (having bad dreams, nightmares, etc.), the desire to avoid situations that might provide a reminder of the event, negative feelings such as guilt or shame, constant jitters or being on the lookout for danger, depression and the inability to concentrate. While these symptoms typically occur soon after the traumatic event, they may not appear for several months or even years.

While PTSD is most often associated with military combat veterans, it can also occur in the civilian workforce. Professionals who are most susceptible to the onset of PTSD symptoms include police officers and emergency medical workers who witness disturbing incidents on almost a daily basis. However, specific workplace incidents can also trigger PTSD symptoms — consider the construction worker who sees a coworker falling from heights, a woman who is the victim of sexual assault while at work or a school teacher who witnesses a mass shooting.

PTSD and Mental Health Workers’ Comp Claims

Workers’ comp insurance can provide financial benefits such as replacement of lost wages and payment of medical bills if an employee is unable to work due to a job-related accident or illness. While workers’ comp typically applies to physical injuries, it may also provide coverage for mental disorders. Mental illness-based workers’ comp claims can fit into the following categories:

  • Physical-mental — When a physical injury or illness leads to the development of a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety
  • Mental-physical — When a work-related mental disorder leads to the onset of a physical issue
  • Mental-mental — When a psychological stimulus manifests as a mental illness, which is exemplified by PTSD

Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits for PTSD Can Be a Challenge

While the workers’ comp laws in many states permit the payment of benefits for PTSD, they can be challenging to obtain. You typically must be able to demonstrate that you have experienced a situation where you feared for your life or experienced a traumatizing event that could be considered extraordinary in comparison to your “normal” working conditions. You must also demonstrate that the resulting symptoms are hindering your ability to work. A formal PTSD diagnosis from a company-approved psychiatrist or psychologist is also required.

Many employers are highly skeptical of PTSD-related workers’ comp claims. Expect scrutiny from your employer and its workers’ comp insurance carrier, as they will look for any reason to limit your benefits or deny your claim. The insurance company’s investigators will likely delve into your personal and medical history to uncover any information that could discredit your claim.

If you are in Kansas or Missouri and need help with a PTSD-related workers’ comp claim, the expert legal professionals at Phalen Law Firm may be able to increase your odds of a successful outcome. We also offer free initial consultations.

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William L. Phalen

For 30 years, Bill Phalen has been representing families and workers whose lives have been devastated by workplace injuries, reckless drivers and the negligence of others. When tragedy needlessly strikes – because of the irresponsible behavior of an employer, corporation or an insurance company – Bill Phalen is an advocate for the people, always representing David in the fight against Goliath. Bill’s strong convictions have led to successful cases at the Court of Appeals and Kansas Supreme Court.

21:34 06 Aug 23
It has been a long road of recovery, very thankful for all they have done on my behalf, Bill and Melissa thank you for having my back and helping me get through everthing i have gone through in the last few years.
TikTok BattleTikTok Battle
13:21 28 Mar 23
Very nice employees. William is an awesome attorney if it had an option for 10 stars I would give him 10. I highly recommend him to anyone in search of a great attorney
Dorothy RuebelDorothy Ruebel
05:32 25 May 21
I highly recommend Mr Phalen. He and his staff did a great job! I could not have won my case without them.
Luke EmmotLuke Emmot
14:42 18 Dec 20
I was hurt at work and Mr Phalen took my case on and worked on it for over a year and was able to successfully get me a settlement check for my injuries. Hire him if you’re ever injured on the job!
Kelli StringfieldKelli Stringfield
21:06 01 Jul 19
If you need an excellent attorney around the Pittsburg area Bill Phalen is the guy to go to. Very knowledgeable and pleasant and the office staff is great. I wouldn't go to anyone else!
Levi DeWittLevi DeWitt
16:14 01 Apr 19
I've worked here as a student intern since August, 2018 and I must say that this has been the most enjoyable job I've had to date. Mr. Phalen and the gals working here are a pleasure to be around and work with. They are patient with me every time I'm slow to get the hang of a new task, they are relaxed and easy going but know how to get the job done well. They each put extra effort into all of the work they do for each and every client. Several times they have come in early or stayed at the office late to make sure that they got every done that they needed to prepare someone's case.The people in this office have been a part of this community for a lifetime and working with them has helped me feel as if I was a part of this great community as well.
Thomas HelmThomas Helm
16:52 27 Mar 19
Very Proud to call him my Attorney, very friendly staff, that always keeps me updated on my case and one phone call away to answer any questions. I have been using him for many, many years. I can't Thank him enough for what he has done and still doing for me and my family. But Thank you. Would highly recommend William Phalen.