Are workers’ with PTSD eligible for workers’ comp benefits
In the many instances where we highlight workers’ compensation benefits, it is because of physical injuries suffered during the course of one’s work activities. Which begs the question, can a worker receive benefits due to psychological injuries stemming from a workplace accident?
In Arizona, workers are entitled to benefits for psychological injuries. There are stricter requirements to qualify than for physical injuries. We can help you determine whether you are eligible.
The psychologist he worked with determined that he was fit to return to duty in June 2010, but the firefighter returned to therapy later that year. After still complaining of flashbacks, he was re-evaluated in November 2012 and was still diagnosed with PTSD, even though the evaluator indicated that he was improving.
Despite these evaluations, a workers’ comp arbitrator found that he had not proven that he had an accidental work injury and awarded him no benefits. The workers’ compensation board affirmed the decision, as did the circuit court for Cook County. However, a five-judge panel reversed the circuit court and the arbitrator’s decision; finding that the firefighter indeed suffered PTSD from a single, traumatic event.
The appellate court also found that the psychologists who diagnosed him with PTSD were credible, and that his employer treated the matter as a traumatic injury. While the matter occurred in Illinois, the same thing could happen to an employee in Arizona. It exemplifies the need for experienced legal counsel when seeking work comp benefits.