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Do Armed Robberies Cause PTSD?3 minute read

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects millions of Americans.  Many veterans suffer from it as a result of their service to our country.  Many of our countries first responders suffer from it as well as a result of trauma encountered on the job.

Of course, work-related PTSD is not limited to first responders.  Many people experience severe trauma at work.  Sometimes, car wrecks or other vehicular accidents cause this trauma.  Other times, it comes from shootings or other violence.

How does workers’ compensation treat PTSD?

The basic idea of a state workers’ compensation system is that employers will pay wage loss benefits and medical benefits for a work-related injury.  In exchange, employers generally cannot be sued by the injured employee for “personal injury”.  The workers’ compensation claim is the “exclusive remedy” for the injured worker.

Many injured workers develop PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event at workThe problem is that many states workers’ compensation systems do not cover “mental injuries” especially when there is no “physical injury” to the worker.  So, an injured worker is not covered for PTSD and severe depression that occurs after an armed robbery or other traumatic event.

You probably still remember the mass shooting that occurred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016.  One of the first responders who carried bodies out of the nightclub developed PTSD as a result of that tragic event.  Even though he was doing his job, his PTSD is not covered under Florida workers’ compensation law.

Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws would yield the same result.  If there were mass shootings in a nightclub, neither the first responders nor the nightclub employees would receive workers’ compensation coverage for psychiatric conditions that developed from the trauma (unless they were physically injured as well).

I find this tragically unfair.  Mental trauma can often be much worse than physical trauma.  Yet, Georgia’s state workers’ compensation laws and the workers’ compensation laws of many other states refuse to recognize these mental injuries.

Isn’t there a danger that people will fake PTSD?

Opponents of changing the law will say that mental injuries can be faked.  There are a few problems with that argument:Georgia's workers' compensation benefits does not pay benefits for mental injuries unless accompanied by a physical injury

  • Physical injuries potentially can be “faked” as well but we still pay workers’ compensation benefits for them
  • Almost all state workers’ compensation laws (including Georgia) already cover mental injuries as long as there is a physical injury as well.  If we are really concerned about mental injuries being faked, then we should not cover them at all
  • Psychiatrists and psychologists have developed tests that help determine whether someone is suffering from a mental injury or just trying to “fake it”

Of course, the really big problem for injured workers is that employers may still try to claim immunity from “personal injury” lawsuits when their negligence leads to a worker being held up at gunpoint and developing PTSD or another psychiatric injury.  This could result in the injured worker being left holding the bag with absolutely no remedy, even if the employer was careless with security.

This problem should be fixed.  It is unfortunate that a terrible tragedy like the Pulse shooting in Orlando is required to bring attention on an issue like this to a national level.  Maybe one good thing that can come out of that shooting is a change to take care of our nation’s injured workers a little better.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
moombimoombi
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.
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