Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a really serious problem in our country. While it’s most associated with soldiers coming back from war, the truth is that it occurs in civilian jobs too. The most common example is someone who gets robbed at gun point and mentally can not feel comfortable with a return to work. You can’t self diagnose a problem just like you can’t show a broken leg without an x-ray or a torn rotator cuff without a MRI. You need to seek medical treatment with a psychologist or psychiatrist and follow their plan of care.
A recent case at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission highlighted what is needed to win a PTSD case. A Village of Homewood firefighter was at a house fire when a flashover occurred in the house, causing major injuries to one of his co-workers and ultimately a death. Having witnessed the fire and the injuries to his co-worker, the claimant alleged PTSD.
He won his case because to win a claim for psychological injuries at work in Illinois, you have to show that your injury came from a single, traumatic event. So if your boss yells at you every day or there is too much work for you to handle, you will not win your case. But seeing a co-worker die usually qualifies.
In this case, the fireman proved his injuries by seeking treatment with a psychiatrist for about nine months. The good news is that he was eventually able to return back to his old job and perform his work duties without a problem. The bad news was that he continued to experience PTSD problems including flashbacks which occur multiple times a day as well as difficulty sleeping.
The key points in any one of these events are that it must be one time, shocking (something the general public doesn’t usually experience) and you have to prove your injury through medical treatment.
We’ve helped a lot of Illinois workers with PTSD and while we hope you aren’t going through that, we’d be honored to help you if you are. Having an attorney who understands these unique injuries and the seriousness of PTSD is really important. A true PTSD problem isn’t something you can just wish away or make better with positive thoughts. It’s no different than if you wanted to just wish away a broken leg or cancer. We get it. If you’d like our help or just have questions, call us any time at (312) 346-5578.