According to statistics for the U.S., 70% of adults have experienced a traumatic event of some type at least once in their lives – this equates to roughly 223.4 million people.
Up to 20% of these people go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This means that as of today, roughly 44.7 million in the U.S. are or were struggling with PTSD. It is also estimated that 24.4 million people have PTSD at any given time. Additionally, an estimated 1 out of every 9 women develop PTSD, which means their chances of developing the condition are about twice that of their male counterparts.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop after you have experienced a trauma. A trauma is a dangerous or shocking event that happens to you or that you witness. In such an event, you think that your life, or the lives of other people, is in danger. As you can see from the numbers mentioned above, experiencing a traumatic event is not rare and PTSD can happen to anyone.
PTSD at Work
PTSD can take place following a traumatic experience in virtually any setting, including in the workplace. Many, but not all, states allow workers’ compensation claims to be filed based on PTSD.
To qualify for the benefits, you must have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event while you were on the job, and then suffer from the symptoms of PTSD that interfere with your ability to work and even live. You are also required to receive a formal diagnosis of PTSD from a psychologist or psychiatrist.
PTSD is not just something that someone derives from combat. You do not have to wear a uniform or carry a gun and fight overseas to developPTSD.
Causes of PTSD at Work
A few examples of situations in the workplace that might give rise to a workers’ compensation claim based on PTSD include the following:
- A police officer, an EMT, or a firefighter responds to a gruesome or horrific situation
- A construction worker witnesses a serious injury or death of a co-worker
- A teacher witnesses a shooting in school
In many cases, the symptom of PTSD may not appear until months or even years after the traumatic experience. Late-onset PTSD is classified by the current edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual, the DSM-5 as “PTSD with delayed expression”.
Workers’ compensation claims that involve delayed expression of symptoms – which constitute roughly 25% of all PTSD cases – can be a challenge to win, especially if a long period of time has passed since the traumatic experience took place. It is vital to seek help for PTSD as soon as you notice any symptoms.
Symptoms of PTSD
Situations like those mentioned above (and many others) can cause mental or emotional symptoms of PTSD, including:
- Flashbacks of the traumatic event
- Heightened startle response, or being jumpy or easily startled
- Anger and irritability
- Emotional detachment
- Violent or self-destructive behavior
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Obsessive-compulsive behavior
Apart from mental and emotional symptoms, PTSD can have a negative impact on the body. Sometimes there are also physical PTSD symptoms that can affect a person, which can include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms after going through a traumatic event in the workplace or while working on a site, you should consult a psychologist or psychiatrist to get a proper diagnosis. If you have PTSD, then you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim.
While you will be allowed by workers’ compensation laws to receive a certain level of benefits regardless of the severity of the PTSD, more benefits are provided to people who suffer from more severe symptoms – this is because the PTSD has a more severe detrimental effect on the individual.
For this reason, it is paramount that you make sure that you report all of the symptoms you experience to your doctor if you think that you have PTSD caused by a traumatic event in the workplace.
We Can Help
If you or a loved one suffers from work-related PTSD, you should immediately seek the help of the dependable attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. We understand the issues you are going through and will provide our expertise to help make sure that you file a successful workers’ compensation claim based on PTSD. Call us at 561-687-5660 for a free consultation today.