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New Jersey workers' compensation: Not all injuries are physical

When most think of on-the-job injuries, physical injuries are the first come to mind. But what happens if one's injuries are not physical, but psychological in nature? Are mental health issues covered under workers' compensation in New Jersey?

There are many people in New Jersey who are exposed to pretty awful things in their lines of work. Witnessing or helping after catastrophic events can certainly take its toll over time. Those who are exposed to such things -- such as rescue workers and medical providers -- are prone to experience something experts call traumatic incident stress.

Pretty much everyone experiences stress in the workplace. Traumatic incident stress is different, however. When one is exposed to horrible things over and over again, it is possible to experience symptoms that effect one physically, cognitively, emotionally and behaviorally. Sometimes symptoms appear immediately after exposure, while others may not show until weeks or months after the fact. Common physical and cognitive symptoms of traumatic incident stress include:

  • Symptoms of shock
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Poor concentration
  • Nightmares

Common emotional and behavioral symptoms seen with traumatic incident stress include anxiety, depression, panic attacks, withdrawal, anger and emotional outbursts -- among numerous others. Everyone reacts to tragic situations in their own way. As such, two people can witness the same things and experience entirely different symptoms.

New Jersey residents who have been exposed to things while at work that have had a tough emotional impact on their lives may need help to overcome any symptoms of traumatic incident stress. Sometimes this requires the assistance of medical specialists. Workers' compensation benefits may be used in order to get the care one needs. Those who are struggling to get such care covered can seek legal assistance to help with the matter.

Source: cdc.gov, "Traumatic Incident Stress", Accessed on April 22, 2017

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