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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover PTSD?

Joanow Legal Group Jan. 8, 2020

Even if you love your job, it probably comes with a degree of stress attached to it. While there are several ways to manage anxiety effectively, you may become incapable of coping. If your mental-health condition qualifies as post-traumatic stress disorder, you may wonder if you can seek workers’ compensation benefits for your non-physical injury.

The goal of workers’ compensation insurance is to provide payments to workers who sustain some type of on-the-job injury. This is good public policy, as it makes sure that injured individuals have the financial resources they need to recover. Furthermore, workers’ compensation reduces litigation, as recipients waive their right to sue their employers. Still, Pennsylvania law treats physical injuries and PTSD a bit differently.

Physical Work-Related Injuries

To receive compensation for a physical injury, you only must show that your injury occurred at work. That is, it does not typically matter what you were doing or what caused the injury. Nonetheless, you must report the incident to your employer and follow other steps to ensure that you receive appropriate compensation.

Mental-Health Injuries

Under Pennsylvania law, mental health disorders are not as straightforward as their physical counterparts. While you can receive compensation for PTSD, you must show that it is the result of an abnormal work condition. Ordinary job-related stress is probably insufficient. Instead, you likely need to draw a connection to some out-of-the-ordinary event that caused you to develop PTSD. Nonetheless, if you sustained a physical injury that also caused you to develop PTSD, your workers’ compensation claim can proceed as a straight physical injury.

Clearly, good mental health is as important as good physical health. Therefore, you must work diligently to recover from any on-the-job injury. A worker’s compensation payout may help speed up the process. If you have PTSD or another mental health disorder from something that happened at work, though, you likely need to take additional steps to receive the compensation you deserve.