Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition long associated with members of the military and first responders. In recent years, PTSD mental health professionals have applied PTSD to a wider variety of patients.
In Illinois, PTSD is now recognized as a work related mental health condition, and employees who develop PTSD may, with the help of a Crystal Lake workers' compensation attorney, seek compensation for their condition.
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What Is PTSD?
Patients develop PTSD as the result of a specific, traumatic incident. The Illinois Workers Compensation Commission (IWCC) awards compensation for PTSD in two general circumstances:
- Victim of an attack: Patients who were victims of a violent attack, such as an armed robbery or physical assault, while at work may suffer from legitimate mental health issues as a result of the attack.
- Witness to a traumatic event: If an employee is witness to a traumatic event while performing their job duties, like the death of a co-worker or a member of the general public, the employee can claim PTSD.
How Is PTSD Proven?
People suffering from PTSD often struggle to make their case in court or before the IWCC, because PTSD is difficult to diagnose correctly, and is largely subjective. A Crystal Lake workers' compensation attorney may use the symptoms established by the federal government to argue for a PTSD diagnosis.
People with PTSD commonly:
- Have nightmares
- Suffer from anxiety
- Relive the event through flashbacks
- Experience undue anger or irritability
- Develop OCD or memory loss
In addition, PTSD may manifest itself physically with:
- Heart problems
- Digestive issues
To win a case for workers' compensation over PTSD, a Crystal Lake attorney must rely on the IWCC's judgment and the testimony of mental health professionals.
What Happens After Winning A Claim?
As with any other injury, the employer is responsible for covering medical treatments and lost wages for employees suffering from PTSD. In this case, medical treatment involves therapy and treatment programs to repair psychological damage and help the employee cope with the traumatic event. Employees who never show improvement through treatment may be eligible to file for permanent disability due to mental impairment.
A Crystal Lake workers' compensation attorney is a necessity when filing a workers' compensation claim based on PTSD. Employees making such a claim already face significant legal and medical hurdles that only an experienced attorney can overcome.