Is post-traumatic stress syndrome covered by workers' comp?

While workers’ compensation supplies benefits to employees in Maryland and across the country who are injured in workplace accidents, it is not reserved for people who are suffering from physical injuries. Workers may suffer from emotional trauma and psychological damage that can occur from being exposed to stressful situations over an extended period of time. For example, physicians, nurses or first responders who work in a trauma unit and are required to make life or death decisions on a daily basis may begin to show signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic incidents can occur when workers are made to deal with tragic events involving dead bodies, loss of colleagues, severely injured children or other severely stressful situations.

Some signs of post-traumatic stress may occur immediately after an employee experiences a disturbing event, and others may show after several months or years of exposure. In addition to depression, anxiety and other psychological factors involved in this condition, PTSD can display itself in physical ailments as well. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Difficulty seeing
  • Consistent headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe fatigue

Furthermore, post-traumatic stress can result in cognitive deficiencies, such as poor concentration, confusion, issues remembering things and inability to problem solve. People may feel angry or display emotional outbursts. Some may begin to lose their appetite or start abusing drugs and/or alcohol.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the situation, these cases may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

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