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Can a Workplace Injury Cause PTSD?

Webster & Carlton Blog

Can PTSD Be Caused By a Workplace Injury?

Getting PTSD from a severe work injury? Yes, there are many types of traumatic events that can result in debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)- including serious accidents. In fact, vehicle accidents are a leading cause of PTSD for non-military members. If you are injured in a serious workplace accident, you might have to deal with more than your physical injuries afterward, as you might also have to seek treatment for your PTSD.

PTSD Can be Disabling

Even if your physical injuries eventually heal, PTSD can continue to have many effects that can keep you from work or living your life. One recent workers’ compensation appellate case out of Missouri demonstrates how some people need to seek benefits due to PTSD.A commercial truck driver was in an accident and barely escaped the truck in time for it to catch fire. Due to the trauma of the accident, the driver was diagnosed with severe PTSD. He tried to return to work, but witnessing another accident triggered his PTSD, and he had to stop driving permanently. One doctor confirmed that his PTSD caused him to be permanently and totally disabled since no employer would likely hire him with his record of mental health issues since the crash. Even when he was home, the PTSD caused him to need care almost around the clock for maintenance and safety purposes. His employer denied the request for nursing services, so his wife stopped working to provide full-time care. The resulting workers’ compensation case made it to the Missouri Court of Appeals, which determined that the driver deserved workers’ compensation disability benefits for his PTSD, including benefits to cover the nursing services of his wife. This is only one example of when workers’ compensation benefits might be available for PTSD, even in the absence of other lingering injuries.

PTSD Symptoms

While each person will experience different effects of PTSD, some of the most common symptoms and effects can include:

  • Sudden and debilitating flashbacks to the traumatizing event
  • Nightmares and insomnia
  • Angry outbursts and mood control problems
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Social isolation
  • Intense and irrational fears, especially of things related to the trauma
  • Mistrust
  • Hypervigilance

For example, the truck driver in the above-mentioned case was reportedly terrified of moving vehicles, which posed serious problems when returning to work or even leaving the house to get treatment. Many people who suffer PTSD after a job-related accident are too fearful of returning to the same workplace to continue that job.

Contact Our Missouri Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Assistance with Your Claim

There is no doubt that workers’ compensation claims involving PTSD can be complicated and challenging. Many insurers do not even want to cover psychological treatment for PTSD, which is often necessary to recover. It is especially important to have the help of a Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer if you have been diagnosed with PTSD following an accident on the job. Contact us at The Law Firm of Webster & Carlton for a free case evaluation.

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