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Can I Get Workers Comp Benefits for PTSD?


You should expect an uphill battle when filing workers compensation benefits for PTSD.

Emotional distress in the workplace

Workers’ compensation is mandatory for business owners to carry in the state of Missouri if they have any employees. Workers’ compensation is meant to protect both the employer and the employee if someone is injured while performing under the scope and authority of their work duties.

Workers’ compensation is not guided by the theory of negligence. That means that a worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if they are solely responsible for their own injuries. If they can prove that they were injured while performing any work-related activities, then it does not matter who is to blame.

The biggest disadvantage to workers’ compensation is that if you collect the benefits, although you are entitled to compensation for your economic damages compensation, you cannot collect non-economic damages.

Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

Economic damages are concrete things like lost wages and doctor’s bills, while non-economic damages cover issues like emotional distress and pain and suffering. In most instance, if you collect workers’ compensation benefits, then you aren’t entitled to emotional distress or other non-economic damages. However, if you can prove that your emotional distress is more severe and has led to a diagnosed illness, then you just might be eligible to collect.

If Emotional Distress Becomes a Medical Illness

Due to the nature of certain occupations, like first-responders, and the emotional stress that they encounter, there are instances when things that happen on the job create extreme emotional stress resulting in illness which are covered by workers’ compensation. If your condition qualifies as a mental illness like post-traumatic stress disorder, then you may be entitled to benefits. But you should expect an up-hill battle when filing workers compensation benefits for PTSD.

You aren’t eligible to collect for the emotional stress that you went through, but you are entitled to have the treatment you need to address the resulting mental illness. If that means that you can no longer work in the same capacity and you need to be labeled permanently or partially disabled, you won’t receive compensation in the form of non-economic damages, but you are entitled to receive payment to have your illness treated.

St. Louis Work Injury Law Firm

Although you aren’t entitled to collect workers’ compensation in Missouri for non-economic damages like emotional distress, if it results in something more complex than just “distress,” it may be medically covered. The only way to have your emotional issues covered through workers’ compensation is to get the diagnosis of a mental health professional and to contact a St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer, who can sort through the details and determine what you are and are not entitled to.

Call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann today at (314) 361-4300. You may also fill out our online contact form to request a free consultation.

Updated: March 20, 2018
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