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Is PTSD or Other Psychological Injuries Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is defined as a mental health condition that is triggered by a traumatic event after witnessing or experiencing it. The onset of PTSD and other psychological injuries can be unpredictable. It can manifest a traumatic event or the event happening to a loved one. It can happen the day after the event or years down the line. PTSD can be trigger by something dramatic like a car crash or something as simple as someone dropping a cup on the floor. However, once it does happen, PTSD and other traumatic injuries to the mind take time and the help of trained medical professionals to treat.

Unfortunately, PTSD isn’t quite as easy to prove as a broken arm or a herniated disc. Yet, it is a medical condition that can occur at work. If a traumatic event happened at work, even if you weren’t injured in it, it can trigger PTSD. As a work injury of the mind, you are eligible for benefits to cover any pursued treatment and lost wages. If you develop PTSD during the course of your employment, you are eligible for two different benefits in Minnesota: PERA disability and worker’s compensation.

PTSD is most common among those in high-stress careers where the prospect of your own demise and the death of your co-workers is a very real possibility. These careers include police officers, firefighters, and correctional officers. The benefits you can receive for such psychological injuries can potentially be worth thousands.

For those in high-stress jobs, typically they have access to PERA benefits. Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) offers both duty disability benefits and regular disability benefits. Each has different criteria that the worker must meet, but both cover PTSD and other psychological injuries.

If your PTSD forces you to take advantage of your PERA benefits, the disability benefits will cover you even if your job is not inherited dangerous or the PSTD occurred while not on the job. Duty disability is designed for police officers, correctional officers, and firefighters that have inherently dangerous jobs. They offer 60 percent of your monthly salary during your highest-earning years and the money received is non-taxable. Alternatively, regular disability benefits are for those without dangerous jobs and cover PTSD that is not work-related. If eligible, workers will receive 45 percent of their highest salary and the money is also non-taxable.

However, PTSD doesn’t mean you need to retire or take advantage of disability benefits. You are also eligible for worker’s compensation. If your injury occurred before October 1st, 2013 and was caused by work-related exposure, worker’s compensation in Minnesota will cover it. The right settlement can cover reasonable medical treatment for your psychological injuries, wage loss benefits including disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation services if you need to be retrained for a job less likely of triggering your psychological trauma.

As PTSD can be caused by so many different factors and treatment can span a long period of time, the onset of it can be difficult to prove. Psychological injuries are not always as clear and easy to prove as physical injuries, making worker’s compensation and disability benefits much harder to get than they should be. This is why those who suffer from PTSD and want to get the worker’s compensation benefits they deserve need to have representation they can trust.

For those in the St. Paul area, the work injury lawyers at the Law Office of Joshua Borken can help you fight for the compensation you deserve for your psychological injuries. They aren’t invisible, and deserve to be treated as the detrimental injuries that they are.