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Is PTSD Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

Posted in Worker's Compensation on October 27, 2023

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be debilitating and prevent individuals from carrying out their day-to-day activities. PTSD can also prevent people from carrying out job-related duties. However, is PTSD covered under workers’ compensation in Arizona?

In most situations, mental illnesses are not covered under workers’ compensation insurance benefits, but there may be exceptions in certain situations. Here, we want to discuss PTSD and evaluate whether or not a person can recover workers’ comp benefits.

PTSD and Workers’ Compensation Benefits

According to information available from the University of Phoenix, 27% of first responders in the state of Arizona are diagnosed with depression, and 10% are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While first responders certainly face major challenges in the workplace, and they see things that most others do not, this is not the only stressful job that can lead to PTSD.

The reality is that any job, under the right circumstances, can lead to symptoms of PTSD that can affect a person’s ability to carry out their work duties. PTSD can affect a person’s entire life, not just how they handle their job.

In general, individuals will find that mental health conditions are not covered by workers’ compensation, but Arizona law does carve out exceptions in particular circumstances. For example, Arizona workers may be able to recover benefits if they sustain PTSD in situations where there has been “some unexpected, unusual or extraordinary stress related to the employment or some physical injury related to the employment was a substantial contributing cause of the mental injury, illness or condition.”

When Benefits May be Available

In the event a person is awarded workers’ compensation benefits for their work-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they may be able to recover various types of compensation.

Workers’ compensation is designed to cover all medical bills associated with a verified work-related incident. For a person who has sustained PTSD, these types of medical bills could include:

  • Any initial medical care related to the diagnosis
  • All follow-up medical treatment and therapy required
  • Prescription medications needed related to the diagnosis

In the event the PTSD is severe enough to prevent a person from returning to work right away, and this can be verified by a medical professional, the victim may be able to recover wage replacement benefits as well. There are specific requirements for when a person can receive lost wages through workers’ compensation benefits, but if they are awarded, individuals will typically receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage. These benefits will be paid only for a specific amount of time.

Do You Need an Attorney?

We strongly encourage any worker who believes they have sustained PTSD due to their workplace to reach out to a Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. The requirements for recovering compensation in these circumstances are fairly stringent, and it is crucial to have an attorney who can investigate every aspect of the incident and work with trusted medical professionals on your behalf. An attorney may be needed to help file the initial claim or handle any appeals necessary due to a claim denial.