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Workers’ Compensation for Psychological Injuries

Workers’ Compensation for Psychological Injuries

When you think of an on the job injury, you likely think of physical injuries that result from an accident or traumatic event or injuries that occur after repetitive movements. However, there is another class of injuries that can be very serious and that are regularly the subject of workers’ compensation claims. [1] Work-related psychological injuries can develop in many ways and for many reasons though the subsequent workers’ compensation claims can be difficult. Anyone who believes that they are entitled to benefits because of a work-related psychological or mental condition should discuss their situation with an experienced Delaware workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible.

Psychological injuries connected to a workplace accident

Often, psychological injuries arise as a result of a physical injury that occurred on the job. When a worker sustains a particularly severe injury, it may have many effects in their life that may trigger chronic depression, anxiety, or related mental conditions. These effects can include:

• Severe physical pain
• Frustration regarding physical or cognitive limitations
• Permanent scarring, disfigurement, or change in appearance

Undergoing treatment for both a physical injury and psychological injury simultaneously can be both financially and mentally taxing and a psychological injury can postpone a return to work. Workers deserve to recover for not only their on the job physical injuries, but also any subsequent mental conditions that develop as a result of the accident.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental condition that can develop after an individual experiences a traumatic event. Such a traumatic event can involve injury to the PTSD sufferer or may simply involve an experience that has a significant effect on their psyche. Some examples of jobs that have an especially high rate of PTSD include law enforcement officers, first responders, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. These workers regularly witness tragic and violent events that trigger PTSD.

PTSD is a serious condition with many potentially debilitating symptoms that often require extensive treatment. Some of these symptoms can include:

• Regular and severe flashbacks to the incident
• Irrational fear of ordinary situations or objects
• Avoidance of anything that may remind them of the traumatic event (including their job)
• Unexplained irritability, moodiness, or uncontrollable angry outbursts
• Nightmares leading to insomnia and sleep disorders
• Depression and anxiety
• Self-blame and feelings of guilt or shame
• Memories lapses

As you can imagine, many of these symptoms can significantly affect an individual’s ability to successfully return to work and complete job duties. Generally, individuals require different types of treatment for PTSD to return to regular life, including psychotherapy, traumatic exposure therapy, cognitive restructuring, stress inoculation therapy, and prescriptions of antidepressants. All of this treatment can be very costly, as can losing income before you are able to return to work, so workers’ compensation benefits are important for anyone who suffered work-related PTSD.

Benefits available in psychological injury cases

If your claim for your psychological injury is approved, you will likely receive benefits to cover your medical treatments and wages you lost from the time you had to take off work. Benefits for permanent disability based on a mental condition are extremely rare, though not unheard of. However, proving that your psychological injury has left you permanently unable to function in a workplace can require an extraordinary amount of complicated evidence. You attorney will have the resources to obtain testimony from psychological and vocational experts who can attest to the fact that you are not able to work. You best chance of receiving the benefits you deserve is to have an attorney on your side who understands how the workers’ compensation system works.

Seek assistance from an experienced Delaware workers’ compensation lawyer today

Psychological injuries can be just as debilitating as physical injuries. When this type of injury results from your work, you are entitled to benefits just like anyone who has suffered a fracture, back strain, burn, or similar physical injury. Claims based on psychological injuries can be complicated and challenging, so it is imperative to have a workers’ compensation attorney on your side who has a thorough understanding of the evidence needed to prove this type of claim. At the Delaware law office of Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC, we are committed to representing the legal rights of injured workers—no matter what type of workplace injury they sustained—and working to help them obtain the benefits they deserve under the law. Call us today for a free consultation at 302-364-6047.

[1] http://dia.delawareworks.com/workers-comp/
[2] http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml#part_145371

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