Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation for PTSD?
When it comes to providing workers’ compensation benefits for a job injury in Arizona, employers and their insurers tend to focus on physical injuries that are easy to see and diagnose. But for employees with mental injuries like post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), the path to benefits can be filled with obstacles. That’s because Arizona law requires employees to meet high legal standards to get workers’ compensation for PTSD.
AZ Law Requires “Unexpected, Unusual, or Extraordinary Stress”
PTSD is a debilitating emotional injury that is most commonly associated with military veterans. However, someone who experiences any kind of traumatic event — such as a car accident, seeing a co-worker killed on the job, or even perceiving that their life is in danger — can develop PTSD. But because the symptoms are invisible and affect every individual differently, PTSD and other mental health conditions like anxiety and stress tend to go untreated or undiagnosed.
To receive workers’ comp for PTSD in Arizona, you must be able to show that your condition is the result of “some unexpected, unusual, or extraordinary stress related to the employment.” First responders, such as police officers, firefighters, and paramedics, are often in a position to experience or seeing traumatizing events while working.
For employees who struggle to get workers’ comp for post-traumatic stress syndrome, the problem often lies in the law’s ambiguous language: What counts as “unusual” or “extraordinary?” Claimants have been denied benefits because of arguments that they didn’t experience enough of an unusual event to fall outside the scope of their employment.
Take the case of a former Gila County Sheriff’s Office sergeant represented by the workers’ compensation atorneys at Matt Fendon Law Group. John France worked in law enforcement for 35 years until he shot and killed a man who pointed a gun at him and refused to put it down. He went on to develop PTSD but was denied workers’ compensation.
The Industrial Commission of Arizona decided that the circumstances of the incident — being involved in a highly charged situation involving firearms — were not “unusual” enough because France worked as a law enforcement officer. France disagreed, and eventually the state Supreme Court agreed that he deserved benefits for his PTSD.
Proving That PTSD Is Work-Related
To prove that your PTSD is work-related, you must show that:
• You directly witnessed, experienced, or encountered a traumatic event at work.
• You are diagnosed and receiving treatment or have been treated for PTSD by a licensed professional who is carefully documenting your symptoms.
Get Help from an Arizona Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Applying for workers’ compensation is a document-heavy and time-sensitive process. It’s not something you should have to worry about while you’re receiving treatment for PTSD.
Let the workers’ comp PTSD lawyers at Matt Fendon Law Group take the burden off your shoulders. We can gather the information needed to make a solid case for maximum benefits on your behalf. If you’ve already been denied benefits, you can count on us to build a strong appeal to pursue the best possible outcome for your case.
Call or contact us now for a free consultation.