Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Minnesota Workers' Compensation

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder triggered by a disturbing outside event. In considering a diagnosis of PTSD, your health care provider may address whether you have been in a situation in which you were afraid for your safety or your life, or you have experienced something that made you feel fear, helplessness, or horror. The worse the trauma, the more likely a person will develop PTSD, and the worse the symptoms will be. The most severely affected individuals are often unable to work, have trouble with relationships, and have great difficulty parenting their children.

Some of the most prominent symptoms of PTSD include:
  • Flashbacks. People suffering from PTSD often constantly experience the images, sounds, and feelings they experienced at the time of the traumatic experience.
  • Emotional detachment. Individuals suffering from PTSD are often overwhelmed by emotions. They sometimes have a difficult time being with family members. They also tend to avoid activities, places, and people associated with the traumatic experience. They are often emotionally exhausted which can lead to difficulty in even basic functioning.
  • Jumpiness. Another symptom of PTSD is known as hyperactive startle reflex, which essentially means overreaction to stimuli. Individuals suffering from PTSD may also be hypervigilant and constantly worried. This hyperarousal can also cause difficulty with concentration and sleep.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can also cause physical symptoms, including headache, ulcer, heart attack, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), constipation, nausea and vomiting, excessive sweating, diarrhea, cramping, stomach pain, high blood pressure, weight gain or loss, sleeping difficulties, fatigue, and erectile dysfunction.

People who work as firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and first responders have a high-incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as the result of experiencing disturbing and traumatic situations. People who experience a traumatic injury at work may also develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In many instances, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a compensable injury under Minnesota Workers’ Compensation law.

Minnesota Workers’ Comp law places mental injuries into three categories.

1. Physical/Mental. This type of mental injury occurs as the result of a physical injury. Examples include depression that develops after a physical injury or PTSD after a traumatic physical injury. This type of mental injury is compensable under Minnesota workers’ compensation.

2. Mental/Mental. This type of mental injury develops as the result of mental stimulus. Examples include stress or anxiety from verbal harassment at work, or depression after being demoted at work. This type of mental injury is NOT compensable under Minnesota work comp law.

3. Mental/Physical. This type of injury involves a mental condition that causes a physical injury or symptoms. Examples include heart attacks that occur as the result of excessive stress at work or PTSD as the result of responding to a traumatic car accident which causes physical symptoms. This type of injury may be compensable under workers’ compensation in Minnesota.

Our firm has successfully represented several clients for PTSD workers’ compensation claims. If you are suffering from PTSD, and you believe it is related to your employment, call us at 877-746-5680 or email us here to schedule a free consultation to find out if you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Visit our website at MeuserLaw.com!

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