Can You Claim Workers’ Compensation Benefits for PTSD?
With June being PTSD month, we recently took on that topic that can be quite confusing. We frequently handle cases with post-traumatic stress disorders in workers’ compensation injuries. As you could imagine, in most cases workers compensation does not cover PTSD claims very well. In Colorado, PTSD claims and mental depression claims are actually two very different things. It is sometimes a steep battle proving that due to your on the job injury, you are now having episodes of depression or are experiencing PTSD.
With Colorado law, there are two types of claims that fall under the same umbrella.
There are mental-mental claims and mental-physical claims. Mental-physical claims would be if you have suffered a physical injury. You fell off of a latter, you slipped on a wet floor, or any other injury that caused you harm to your body. With these types of claims, your counseling, treatments, and any sort of medication will be covered for you. When talking about mental-mental claims, we’re going to have a much more difficult battle. Since there is no actual physical injury with these cases, the court requires a substantial amount of additional proof.
First, it is important that you have a testimony.
This testimony can be used in a report from a licensed psychologist or a psychiatrist in order to help your case. Secondly, the stress you are experiencing from the event that began your PTSD or depression must have been an unusual stress, not common to your field. For example, if you’re a nurse working in a hospital, and you witness someone dying in front of you, you cannot claim PTSD due to that event that is part of your job, and an event that happens at your place of work so frequently. If roles were reversed and you were just a secretary who is not exposed to these types of stressors during your job, you may be able to build a case.
If you have a mental-mental claim, limitations are placed on your benefits that usually equals about 12 weeks, which constitutes to either 12 weeks of lost wages or 12 weeks of impairment. Although this is true, there are still exceptions to these situations depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, if the event that you experienced is deemed a crime of violence, the limitations stated above do not apply.
When filing for workers’ compensation regarding PTSD or any other previously mentioned circumstances, be prepared for a tough battle.
The associates at Kaplan Morrell are ready to help make this fight as easy and painless as possible for you. We see these types of cases very often and would love to provide you with a free consultation. Visit us on our website and give us a call anytime at 970-356-9898.