New Jersey workers’ compensation law recognizes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a compensable work injury. When most people think of PTSD, they think of soldiers who have been in combat coming home with psychological issues. But PTSD can happen to anyone who has experienced an event that causes a significant amount of stress and anxiety. For example, let’s say you’re a delivery driver and get into a car crash where many people are hurt. Afterward, you may be very afraid and apprehensive to drive again. Combined, this fear, stress, and anxiety are symptoms of PTSD. Work injuries and PTSD don’t happen all the time, but when they do, it’s covered under New Jersey’s workers’ comp law.
PTSD after a work injury is quite common. But these cases are difficult to win sometimes. If you are suffering from psychological and/or emotional injuries due to a work injury, accident, or other situation, contacting the right attorney is the best way to ensure you get the benefits you deserve. The New Jersey workers’ comp lawyers at Petro Cohen, P.C. have been helping NJ workers with PTSD after a work accident for decades.
Definition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is a psychological disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. The event can be anything that is traumatic. It could be an accident, a serious injury, the death of a loved one, or a traumatic and shocking experience. The symptoms of PTSD can be some combination of the following:
- Bad dreams;
- Scary and erratic thoughts;
- Avoiding certain places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience;
- Avoiding feelings and emotions related to the event;
- Being easily startled or frightened;
- Being always anxious or on edge;
- Inability to sleep well;
- Uncontrolled anger;
- Negative thoughts about oneself or the world;
- Feelings of guilt; and
- Apathy and lack of interest.
Sometimes symptoms from PTSD after a work injury can happen fairly quickly or may manifest over a period of months. But in many circumstances, when the traumatic event is related to work or some work activity, the worker may not be able to adequately perform their job due to experiencing many or all of the above symptoms.
PTSD and New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law
New Jersey recognizes both physical and psychological injuries. An injured worker needs to demonstrate through competent evidence that either physical or mental injury arose out of and in the course of employment. An injury or condition is said to have arisen in the course of your employment if it occurred during a period when you were on the clock, at your place of employment or when you were engaged in fulfilling the duties of your employment.
With a work injury and PTSD, the employee must show that the PTSD was caused by something that occurred at work that was traumatic and shocking. This traumatic and shocking work event could consist of just one event, such as an explosion at work, a violent car accident, or an assault. For the claim to be considered work-related, the stressful event or stressful condition has to be more than the normal stress that almost everyone can feel in their day-to-day work lives. An occasional stressful day at work is not enough to diagnose PTSD after a work injury nor is merited criticism a basis for an alleged work-related psychiatric claim.
What Benefits Are Available for a Work-Related PTSD Claim?
Just like with any type of work-related injury, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company would be required to pay medical benefits and wage loss benefits. The medical benefits would consist of any psychological treatment you need, such as therapy, in-patient treatment, or whatever is necessary to help you work through the stress and anxiety of PTSD. Also, if you cannot work due to your psychological condition, then you are entitled to wage loss benefits. The wage loss benefits are 70% of your gross average weekly wages (wages before taxes are taken out) before the injury. However, there is a maximum weekly amount and a minimum weekly amount that changes every year. For injuries that happen in 2021, the weekly maximum benefit is $969 and the minimum is $258.
Trust Petro Cohen with Your Workers’ Compensation Case
At Petro Cohen, P.C., our team of workers’ compensation and personal injury will work seamlessly together to evaluate your claim and help guide you. With over 200 years of combined experience, our attorneys will fight to get you the medical treatment you may need and the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Petro Cohen, P.C. has been consistently recognized as one of New Jersey’s leading firms in the area of workers’ compensation. Since 2011, the firm has been named among Best Law Firms in America® in Atlantic City for Workers’ Compensation. Frank Petro has received the highest rating (AV) from Martindale-Hubbell, the world’s foremost authority on law firm credentials (the AV rating is only for lawyers considered the top in their field).
Since 1995, Frank Petro has been named every year on the Best Lawyers in America® list for Workers’ Compensation. Additionally, Frank Petro has been named to the NJ Super Lawyers® list since 2005 in the practice area of workers’ compensation. He is also certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Workers’ Compensation Law Attorney, the highest specialty certification available to workers’ compensation legal practitioners in New Jersey and has held this certification since its inception in 1998.
Similarly, our injury attorneys have been recognized locally and statewide for their legal excellence in this dynamic practice area. They have successfully handled thousands of personal injury cases for clients throughout Southern New Jersey. Additionally, Petro Cohen, P.C. law firm was named to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms in America® list in New Jersey for Personal Injury in 2017.
Don’t gamble with your legal representation. Call Petro Cohen, P.C. today.