Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was once associated strictly with veterans of wars, but now it has become an accepted diagnosis for mental health issues caused by all sorts of different situations. It is unusual for an employee to develop PTSD working at an ordinary job here in Springfield MO, but Springfield workers compensation lawyers know it certainly can happen.
Here's an (admittedly unusual and extreme) example of a workers' comp case in British Columbia in which an employee was "forced" to perform an activity so heinous and stressful that he developed this mental illness. The claimant worked for a B.C. tour company, Outdoor Adventures Whistler, which used sled dogs. After the company experienced a significant downturn to their business, it decided to kill some of the sled dogs to reduce costs.
This unfortunate incident was revealed when the employee who committed the dog killings filed a claim with WorkSafeBC, for post-traumatic stress disorder. He stated that he developed the condition after personally killing over 100 dogs. According to his testimony the dogs did not die immediately and he was forced to witness many horrible incidents.
WorkSafeBC approved the employee's claim for workers' compensation benefits. (And after hearing of the case, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals commenced a thorough investigation.)
Obviously, we do not have businesses using sled dogs here in Springfield, but there have been cases where PTSD resulted from work experiences in Missouri as well. Although policemen, firemen, and EMTs are more likely to experience PTSD, anyone who has been through a severe trauma is at risk. Mental health experts estimate that as many as 7% to 8% of Americans will suffer from this illness at some point in their lives. It can be brought on by any severe, shocking or traumatic event.
An assault, an accident, witnessing a co-worker's death, or another terrifying situation may trigger it, as in the case of Davis v Magellan Health Services, DOLIR 1-14-10.
In this case, a 43 year-old Missouri mental health care worker went to New York City for 4 days, to help postal workers deal with the aftermath of the 9/11. Returning to Missouri, the claimant experienced difficulty working, concentrating and had nightmares and anxiety. More than a year later, the claimant required hospitalization for major affective disorder, after an incident wherein he threatened to shoot co-workers. The Commission affirmed an award of permanent and total disability benefits for this PTSD workers' compensation case.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Not everyone responds in the same way to traumatic events and not all victims of PTSD have the same symptoms. Some victims have mostly psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety or nightmares. Others have mainly physical ones, such as headaches, ulcers, digestive disturbances or even heart attack. This divergence in symptoms makes PTSD difficult to diagnose and treat.
Filing a Missouri PTSD related workers compensation claim
If a work related accident or event has caused PTSD in a Missouri employee, and that employee becomes unable to work, he or she should see a workers' compensation lawyer at once. In cases where an employee has already had a PTSD claim denied, that employee should also seek legal assistance to find out his or her options.
Contact the Springfield Missouri workers compensation lawyers at Aaron Sachs and Associates today about your workers' compensation claim. Serving injured Missouri employees for over twenty years, we have statewide offices located in Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, Cape Girardeau and Kansas City.