Is post-traumatic stress disorder under workers’ compensation?

Injuries and accidents on North Carolina worksites can have more than just a physical effect on a person. If the incident is particularly violent or traumatizing, there may be emotional and mental effects as well, but can you get workers’ compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by an incident in the workplace?

NCCI and the National Institute of Mental Health define PTSD as a condition that develops after an individual has been through a shocking, dangerous or scary event. To qualify for a PTSD diagnosis, the following conditions must be met for more than one month:

  • One avoidance symptom, when the person avoids the place where the incident happened
  • One reexperiencing symptom, when the person has a “flashback” or relives the incident
  • Two reactivity and arousal symptoms
  • Two mood or cognitive symptoms

Each state is different when it comes to how PTSD claims are covered under workers’ compensation. The coverage often depends on the subset of the mental injury. A physical-mental injury is a physical injury that becomes a mental disability or injury. A mental-mental injury is a mental disability or injury that shows up without a physical injury. A mental-physical injury is a mental condition that creates physical disability or pain.

North Carolina law requires that the injured individual be able to prove that the disorder was caused by the incident on the job. It may be necessary to accumulate doctor recommendations and records, accident reports and work attendance records to support a workers’ compensation claim for PTSD. Anyone who has suffered through a traumatic incident at work may benefit from speaking to an attorney.

This is for educational purposes and should not be considered legal advice.

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