Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. These include medical benefits, permanent and temporary total benefits and permanent partial benefits.
In New Jersey, this program includes compensation for mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s helpful to understand common symptoms of PTSD and next steps employees can take.
PTSD is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. While some people heal with time and self-care, others can suffer symptoms for an extended period of time that interferes with their day-to-day living. It can cause significant difficulty with social, work and personal relationships.
Generally, PTSD is categorized into four types. These are intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking or mood or changes in physical and emotional reactions.
Intrusive memories may include reliving the traumatic event, experiencing severe emotional or physical reactions or having distressing memories of the event. Avoidance includes trying not to think or talk about the traumatic event or staying away from activities or people that trigger thoughts of the traumatic event.
Negative changes in thinking or mood can include negative thoughts, feelings of hopelessness and memory problems. Changes in physical and emotional reactions can include always being on guard, difficulty sleeping or concentrating and irritability.
PTSD may be triggered by accidents, fires, physical assault and other life-threatening events. It can impact a worker’s ability to perform his or her job and do everyday activities.
In New Jersey, all employers except those who are covered by federal programs must have workers’ compensation coverage or be approved for self-insurance. An experienced attorney can provide representation to injured workers and answer their questions.