Workplace injuries take all kinds of forms — and some of them, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — don’t leave visible marks.
That leaves many workers who have suffered psychological trauma due to workplace events questioning whether or not they have a valid claim for workers’ compensation. In Ohio, it’s not always a simple question.
Ohio law only permits compensation for psychological injuries when there is a corresponding physical injury. In other words, if your workplace conditions triggered a serious bout of depression and the start of panic attacks, you wouldn’t be able to claim workers’ comp. On the other hand, if one of your co-workers was constantly harassing you and eventually attacked and injured you in a fight, you may be able to claim workers’ comp for your resulting post-traumatic stress disorder.
First responders in the state have long been struggling to get legislation passed that would make an exception for workers who are constantly being exposed to devastating scenes of human tragedy, but their efforts have not been successful. In 2019, state House members tried to amend the current workers’ compensation bill with additional coverage for PTSD in first responders, but the amendment was struck down in the state Senate.
Despite these hurdles, it’s important not to discount the psychological distress caused by any workplace injury. While many injured workers focus solely on the physical damage they have to cope with after an accident, it’s equally important to seek treatment after a serious accident for any depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.
Getting through all the red tape in a workers’ comp claim can be next to impossible if you’re struggling both physically and mentally. If you feel overwhelmed, it may be time to seek legal assistance.