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Witnesses to a workplace accident may develop PTSD

Mental conditions that are the result of a traumatic experience have the potential to significantly affect a person's daily life. In some cases, the person experiencing this kind of mental pain needs to take time off from work while he or she recovers. Workers' compensation benefits in Illinois may extend to some of these conditions.

One such illness is called post-traumatic stress disorder. According to Anxiety Disorders of America, PTSD symptoms can show up immediately after a traumatic event or they may take several weeks or months to appear. These symptoms often include pervasive feelings of fear, anxiety or dread, and may or may not be connected to the initial accident. For example, someone with PTSD may become distraught driving past a highway construction site after being involved in a construction-related truck accident. A PTSD sufferer could experience flashbacks of an accident if the event is broadcast on the news or there is a similar event that reminds him or her of the incident.

It is also possible to develop post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing an accident that seriously injured or killed a co-worker. In one particularly tragic example, numerous people were exposed to the aftermath of an accident that killed an electrician on a Carnival cruise ship. According to USA Today, the worker had been in an elevator shaft when an unknown accident occurred, which fatally wounded him. Passengers lining up at the elevator after dinner noticed what appeared to be blood streaming down the outside of the elevator doors. One man took a cellphone video of the incident, and numerous people could be heard reacting in shock and fear. Some may have been fellow cruise ship staff, who were attempting to move passengers out of the area.

In this case, workers' compensation might be available for the victim's family, as well as the co-workers who had witnessed such a horrible accident and developed PTSD as a result. Therapy is often required to help sufferers recover from PTSD. Workers' compensation may provide victims with the resources they need to move past the trauma.

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