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Can PTSD be covered as a workplace illness?

When it comes to pursuing workers' compensation claims in Illinois, effectively proving that you sustained a physical injury is generally much easier than illustrating an eligible mental health condition. Unfortunately, the complex nature of diagnosing many mental health problems makes it difficult to achieve full compensation for such workplace illnesses. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, for instance, can have a large variety of contributing factors and triggers, severely complicating the process of linking your PTSD to workplace conditions.

LEXIS-NEXIS discusses the many factors that can be taken into consideration in workers' compensation cases involving PTSD claims, and explains that guidelines for mental health claims vary significantly from state to state. The state of Illinois, along with several others, does accept mental health claims; however, the claim must be based on an unusual stimulus. In such cases, an unusual stimulus is defined as a factor that is atypical for the average person holding the claimant's specific job position. If your workers' comp claim revolved around a stress disorder, for instance, you would have to show that the level of stress you endured on the job was more severe than is typical for other employees in your position.

Discussing PTSD specifically, it is noted that the condition is increasingly difficult to prove in terms of achieving workers' comp. For one thing, there is a subjective element to PTSD that makes it challenging to establish consistent claims standards. Beyond that, it can be increasingly difficult to anticipate and/or manage PTSD. PTSD symptoms are often triggered by psychic or physical trauma, but the condition may have developed much earlier. Therefore, it can be challenging to prove that a work-related incident caused you to have PTSD when you may have experienced profound trauma as a child.

Achieving PTSD-related workers' compensation benefits can depend upon a number of other factors and considerations. The general information provided above is only intended to be educational in nature and cannot serve as legal counsel.

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