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When PTSD factors in a workplace injury

Every day in Illinois and across the country, millions of people in the workforce risk potentially disabling accidents or illnesses. Many accidents occur every year due to a variety of factors, some of them outside of a person's control. Workers' compensation laws are supposed to compensate an employee's medical bills after a workplace accident, but what about the psychological effects of a traumatic incident? Can psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder, be covered by workers' compensation?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD, is an emotional medical condition caused by extreme stress or a traumatic event, states Medscape. The consequences of PTSD may last for months or years and have the possibility of impairing a person's productivity and ability to function in daily tasks.

What are some examples of a workplace accident that may result in PTSD? A worker may have been assaulted at work, seriously injured in machinery accident or a seen a colleague injured or killed. Someone's line of work may be particularly prone to traumatic events, such as law enforcement or firefighting.

According to WebMd, the symptoms of PTSD usually occur soon after the traumatic event. However, it may take weeks or months after an accident for the psychological effects to be evident. PTSD can be severe enough to interfere with a sufferer's work and home life, possibly resulting in lost wages. There may be other expenses, including medical bills from therapy. It may be difficult to show that a victim continues to suffer long after the physical effects of a workplace accident have healed, which is why an attorney experienced in workers' compensation may be necessary.

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