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Q

I was working on a construction site when the scaffolding collapsed. I suffered leg, arm and back injuries. I had planned to return to work, but I feel panicked when I think about going to a construction site. I have been diagnosed with PTSD. Can I get Pennsylvania workers’ comp for a mental condition?

A

Some mental conditions are covered by workers’ compensation, but you must prove that condition resulted from abnormal conditions at your work.

Suppose you have a high-stress job; perhaps you are a surgeon and the wrong decision could mean that a patient dies. Your workplace stress might cause high blood pressure or sleep problems. But, stress is a normal part of being a surgeon. You cannot apply for workers’ compensation because your job stresses you out. Instead, you need to take steps to manage that stress.

However, a scaffold collapse is not a normal part of construction work. Scaffolds are supposed to be constructed in a way that prevents such accidents from occurring. Your fears are the result of an unusual situation.

Mental Disability Claims That May Qualify for Workers’ Comp Benefits

  1. Physical-mental disability claims: An injured worker may suffer depression or anxiety disorders work because of a related physical injury. A worker might become depressed after suffering a painful back injury that limits mobility and keeps him from enjoying favorite activities.
  2. Mental-physical disability claims: These claims result when mental condition causes a physical injury. An example of a mental-physical disability claim would be a heart attack that occurs as a result of stress after assault by a co-worker.
  3. Mental-mental disability claims: These claims involve situations where a strong emotional response to trauma causes a mental injury. The terror experienced during a scaffold collapse could cause PTSD.

 

It is much easier to qualify for workers’ compensation when your mental condition the result of a workplace accident rather than day-to-day stress. However, insurance companies don’t want to pay psychological benefits. Your claim may be denied even if your condition is directly related to your workplace injury.

If you are denied workers’ compensation for your mental condition, don’t be afraid to appeal. We can help. Contact Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo at 888-807-WORK to schedule a free consultation.