Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Virginia Workers’ Compensation PTSD Attorney
Have you or a loved one suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by a traumatic, work-related event? If an authorized treating physician determines that you or your loved one is suffering from work-related PTSD, you or your loved one may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation for medical expenses, travel costs, wage replacement, and partial or permanent disability.
Obtaining full and fair workers’ compensation benefits for psychological conditions can be challenging, as individuals are regularly denied benefits despite having compensable work-related PTSD and other injuries. However, an experienced Virginia PTSD workers’ compensation lawyer can assist in building a strong and compelling claim from the start or tenaciously appeal a denial.
If you (or a loved one) were injured on the job and need to apply for benefits or appeal a denied workers’ compensation claim, we invite you to call The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Once we learn about the facts of your case, firm-founding attorney Mark Hurt can explain your legal options for seeking maximum compensation and benefits and how our experienced team can help.
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we represent injured workers on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning we are only entitled to a fee if we obtain compensation.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
According to the Mayo Clinic, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health illness that is triggered by either experiencing or witnessing a frightening event. While most individuals who experience traumatic events may have temporary difficulty coping, with time and appropriate self-care, a full recovery is often possible. If symptoms persist for months or years and interfere with day-to-day functioning, however, the individual may be suffering from PTSD.
Common symptoms of PTSD include:
- Being Easily Startled
- Heart Attacks
- High Blood Pressure
- Memory Issues
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Self-destructive Behavior
- Tiredness & Trouble Sleeping
If you experience disturbing thoughts or feelings about a traumatic event for more than one month or if you are having trouble getting your life back under control, we urge you to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional, as early intervention can help prevent PTSD symptoms from intensifying.
Is PTSD Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation covers more than just physical injuries that occur at work – it can also include injuries from workplace psychological trauma. In some instances, psychological trauma can occur in connection with an injury to the person, while in other cases, psychological trauma can occur independently of a physical injury to the person suffering the psychological injury (such as if the person witnesses workplace violence or another traumatic event).
PTSD can also occur as the result of severe workplace stressors – it does not have to involve a single major event. Unreasonable workloads and time pressures, pressure to engage in potentially illegal or unethical work practices and many other situations can also result in PTSD that all may be compensable under workers’ compensation statutes.
How Can I Prove a Workers’ Compensation Benefits Claim for PTSD?
Mental health disabilities are often more difficult to diagnose, as they cannot be readily detected by traditional medical tests, such as x-rays or bloodwork. As such, when an individual is suffering from work-induced PTSD, it is typically necessary to:
- Notify an employer within 30 days of the injury;
- File a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (within two years of the date of the injury/event); and
- Visit with a psychiatrist or physician who specializes in diagnosing PTSD so that all symptoms can be thoroughly documented.
Taking these steps will not only assist with ensuring appropriate treatment, but these actions document the severity of the disabling condition, often providing critical support for a claim.
To prove a claim for benefits for PTSD, an individual must demonstrate one of the following:
- PTSD resulted from a work-related physical injury or illness. An individual might be entitled to benefits if they developed PTSD after suffering an injury in a work-related accident.
- The PTSD resulted from a traumatizing, work-related experience. A claimant may be awarded benefits if they can prove their PTSD resulted from an extraordinary work-related experience that shocked or frightened them.
- PTSD developed over time due to exposure to work-related traumatic experiences. To obtain benefits, individuals must demonstrate a direct causal relationship between PTSD and work-related activities, the claimant was exposed to multiple traumatic events, these events were the primary cause of the condition, and there were no other non-work-related activities that caused the PTSD.
- A claim is covered by special legislation applying to firefighters and police officers. Due to the inherently dangerous nature of some occupations (e.g., firefighting, law enforcement, healthcare, journalism, etc.), workers are more likely to witness or experience jarring or violent events. Under Virginia law, such workers who develop PTSD while acting in the line of duty are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
What Types of Benefits Can I Secure Through Workers’ Compensation?
If you or a loved one has a valid workers’ compensation claim for PTSD, you might be entitled to compensation for:
- Authorized primary doctor and specialist(s) visits;
- Authorized medically necessary care;
- Temporary Partial Disability (TP) – If a worker is allowed to return to employment with restrictions, he or she may be entitled to compensation to supplement any loss of earnings caused by the restricted work status);
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) – If an employee is restricted from working by a physician, then the worker may be entitled to two-thirds of their average weekly wages (calculated based on earnings from the 52 weeks before the injury). However, benefits are not payable until the eighth day of disability;
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) – If a doctor finds that an injury or mental illness has reached a state of maximum medical improvement (meaning a condition is not expected to improve, even with additional treatment), an individual may qualify for PPD.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD). If PTSD permanently stops a person from working, he or she may be eligible for PTD; and
- Death Benefits. If a work-related injury results in the death of an employee, surviving dependents may be entitled to:
- Burial expenses up to $10,000;
- Reasonable transportation expenses up to $1,000; and
- Compensation for the lost income of the decedent.
Do I Need a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to File a Claim for PTSD?
Navigating the claims process for PTSD or other mental health illnesses is often difficult, as employers (and their insurers) typically will do whatever is necessary to avoid paying maximum and fair compensation when significant expenses are involved.
As an experienced Virginia workers’ compensation PTSD attorney, Mark Hurt can help support your claim by gathering compelling evidence, such as:
- Incident Reports
- Medical Records & Treatment Plans
- Witness Statements
- Surveillance Videos
- Other Critical Documentation
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we represent injured workers on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning we are only entitled to a fee if compensation is recovered. If successful, we typically are entitled to a fee of 20% of the compensation recovered under Virginia workers’ compensation statutes.
Schedule A Free Consultation With An Experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Your PTSD Claim.
For over two decades, Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer Mark Hurt has been helping Virginia residents obtain workers’ compensation benefits for workplace injuries and illnesses. If you need help filing a claim or appealing a denial, we encourage you to call our firm to schedule a free consultation today.