A misconception exists that workers’ compensation only covers physical injuries. In Arizona, it is possible to file a workers’ compensation claim based on a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the employee must provide compelling proof that the PTSD is work-related.
PTSD and employment
Certain occupations might come with more stress and anxiety than others. For example, police officers routinely face exposure to violent or potentially violent situations. The same could be true of firefighters and emergency medical technicians. For some, PTSD could become debilitating, requiring them to take time off from work to address their mental health. Others could become permanently unable to work because of PTSD.
Employees dealing with PTSD could suffer from flashbacks, concentration issues, depression, insomnia and nightmares. Typically, witnessing a traumatic event or several events could bring about PTSD, and those with extreme PTSD may be unable to work. Treating PTSD can be complex, and the sufferer might need extensive therapy and drug treatment.
Workers’ compensation claims
Be aware that under Arizona law, the statutes related to mental illness and workers’ compensation stipulate the employee must suffer from unexpected, unusual or extraordinary stress resulting from their work or a physical injury sustained at work. Those intending to apply for workers’ compensation must provide compelling evidence to substantiate the claim. They must also file for workers’ comp within the mandated timeframe after receiving a PTSD diagnosis.
An initially denied workers’ compensation claim does not mean the employee faces a final decision. An insurance company could wrongly deny the claim, and the claimant could file an appeal. The appeal goes to the Industrial Commission of Arizona’s Claims Division, which may issue a ruling in the employee’s favor.