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Post-traumatic Stress Disorder After a Work Injury

— January 8, 2021

You have the right to choose your own doctor and course of treatment. Don’t rely on insurance company doctors who will tell you that your problems are not work-related.

Many people who have a traumatic injury at work have difficulty coping and adjusting. This is especially common for individuals with an amputation or brain injury.

All reasonable and necessary medical treatment for your work injury should be paid. This includes psychotherapy and any related medications.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

The Mayo Clinic describes post-traumatic stress disorder as “a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder does not show up on an x-ray. There is no test to prove or disprove what you are feeling. You must be diagnosed by a mental health professional who will ask you about your symptoms. Only then will it be determined if you meet the criteria for this diagnosis.

Any high stress job can put employees at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.  It is not uncommon for an injured worker to refuse medical treatment for this type of condition. Usually it is their family or friends who insist that they seek help. The sooner an individual gets help, the quicker they get better and can return to work.

Why post-traumatic stress disorder is disputed by workers comp

Post-traumatic stress disorder can severely impact a person’s ability to work. Not only do many workers report an inability to do their past job but also problems doing any kind of work.

People may experience depression, anxiety, and anger problems. Sometimes these symptoms don’t even show up until months after a work injury.

Man holding a help sign
Man holding a help sign; image courtesy of rebcenter-moscow via pixabay,

Insurance companies don’t want to take responsibility for mental or emotional injuries. It can end up costing significant money in lost wages and medical treatment. The insurance company will send you to an independent medical examination and your claim will likely be denied.

In Michigan, claims are covered for employees when they suffer from this disorder due to work related activities. All medical treatment is covered 100% without any co-payments or deductibles being owed. This includes prescription medications and therapy if needed.

Employees can also collect lost wages. The amount paid should equal 80% of their after-tax average weekly wage. A good rule of thumb is to estimate about 60% of gross wages is owed subject to a state-wide weekly maximum. This money is income tax free.

Don’t accept a denial from workers comp

Stand up to the insurance company if your PTSD workers’ comp claim has been denied. You should get unlimited medical treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. You should also get wage loss benefits if you cannot work.

You have the right to choose your own doctor and course of treatment. Don’t rely on insurance company doctors who will tell you that your problems are not work-related.

If you are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder due to work related activities and your benefits have been denied, an experienced workers’ comp lawyer can protect your rights to benefits and make sure you are receiving the correct workers compensation rate.

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