Sometimes the injuries first responders suffer on the job do not show up as easily as a burn or a broken bone. Dealing with high-stress and life-and-death situations, first responders may develop post-traumatic stress disorder due to their work. As they would if they suffered a physical trauma on the job, injured workers may wonder where and how to get help.
Understanding their rights may help those with PTSD to get the benefits they need and deserve.
How does PTSD affect first responders’ ability to work?
According to MayoClinic.org, post-traumatic stress disorder causes ranging symptoms, some of which may affect people’s ability to perform their job duties. Those with this mental disorder may experience symptoms such as negative changes in mood or thinking, avoidance, intrusive memories, and changes in their emotional or physical reactions. The intensity of the symptoms those with PTSD experience may vary over time.
What causes mental distress at work?
Going through difficult traumas in the workplace may cause people to develop PTSD. For instance, this may include situations that threaten or involve actual serious injuries, sexual violence or death.
Does workers’ comp cover PTSD?
According to state law, post-traumatic stress disorder qualifies as a compensable occupational injury for first responders, including firefighters and emergency medical technicians. However, to receive benefits for PTSD, the condition must have developed due to a qualifying event. Examples of the types of situations that may allow first responders to claim workers’ compensation benefits include seeing a deceased minor or the death of a minor, directly witnessing a homicide, or helping to treat someone with grievous bodily harm who ultimately succumbed to his or her injuries.
Developing PTSD often affects all aspects of a person’s life but obtaining workers’ compensation benefits may provide first responders with vital support as they focus on what matters the most – their wellness.