It has been known for years now that post-traumatic stress disorder affects healthcare workers. It should not come as a surprise that our healthcare heroes experience PTSD as they are routinely exposed to traumatic situations, especially over the last few years. But, can healthcare workers with PTSD qualify for workers’ compensation? In a word, yes, but proving your case will be an uphill battle.
New Jersey workers’ compensation
In New Jersey, workers’ compensation provides monetary benefits to employees who are injured or become ill because of their job. And, those benefits are for both physical and mental injuries. Though, to be clear, not every mental injury will qualify as the mental injury must have been caused by the job and work-related stress.
What must be proved?
The proof is where the uphill battle begins. To prove the mental health injury, like PTSD qualifies, you must be able to prove that your work conditions were stressful, that you reacted to the situation as stressful and this stress was specific to your workplace. You must also have a medical diagnosis of your mental health injury relating that work stress to the cause of it or worsening of this psychiatric disability.
What evidence is good evidence?
As a New Jersey healthcare worker suffering with PTSD as a result of your healthcare work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation, but you will need evidence. You will need evidence of both PTSD and its connection to your work. This can include your medical records and reports from your therapists (and any other treating doctors or mental healthcare professionals), testimony from those professionals explaining the nexus of your PTSD and your work, documentation of specific traumatic events that triggered your PTSD (police reports of mass shootings, witness statements, video footage, etc.) and evidence that shows how your PTSD affects your ability to perform your job and enjoy your life.
Do not delay. You only have 2 years from the date of any precipitating traumatic event or the date you became aware of your PTSD to claim your workers’ compensation. But, even if you do meet this, you may still need to appeal a denied or disputed claim from the insurance company.