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Does GA Workers Compensation Cover PTSD?4 minute read

 

Many people suffer traumatic events while doing their job.  Some people suffer car crashes while driving.  Others witness other people suffering serious injuries.  Still others are robbed  or shot.

Often, these traumatic events cause an individual to develop a psychological condition called post-traumatic stress disorder.  This condition is often known as PTSD.

Female psychologist treating male patient for PTSDPTSD is a medical condition that often develops as a result of a stressful experience or multiple stressful experiences.  Think about firefighters or police officers.  They are often put in stressful situations. Many other people experience stress as well.

So, what happens when someone develops PTSD as a result of an incident at work? The idea behind workers compensation is that it provides certain benefits when an employee suffers an injury on the job.  One question that workers compensation courts have had to determine is what constitutes an injury.

Pretty much everyone would agree that a broken arm suffered as a result of a fall at work is a workers compensation injury. But, not every injury is that clear cut.  In this article, I will whether Georgia’s workers compensation law covers PTSD and other psychological conditions that develop from incidents at work.

Does Georgia workers compensation ever cover PTSD?

Yes.  There are some situations where Georgia’s workers compensation law does cover PTSD and other psychological conditions.  But, Georgia’s rules about when psychological conditions are covered and when they are not is fairly strange.

If an individual suffers a physical injury on the job and also develops a psychological condition as a result of the injury, that person will likely be able to receive workers compensation benefits for the psychological condition as well as the physical injury.  One example of this situation is a bad car wreck.

Someone in a car wreck may have physical injuries.  This same individual might also develop PTSD as a result of the trauma from the event.  In this situation, the workers compensation insurance company should pay benefits for the PTSD because the injured worker also suffered a physical injury.

What happens if an employee develops PTSD from work but does not have a physical injury?

Unfortunately, Georgia workers compensation rules are different when an individual develops PTSD or another psychological condition without a physical injury.  The basic rule in this situation is that workers compensation does not cover the psychological condition when there is no physical injury.

This rule has developed as a result of Georgia courts deciding what an “injury” is.  Unfortunately, the courts in Georgia have interpreted Georgia’s workers compensation laws to find that there is not an injury when an individual develops a psychological condition without a physical injury.

This rule has some very harsh and strange effects.  The rule focuses on whether someone suffers a physical injury instead of focusing on the amount of trauma they suffered.  So, a convenience store clerk who is tied up and held hostage at gunpoint for 12 hours but not physically injury would not be covered by workers compensation if she developed PTSD.  But, a convenience store clerk who was punched while the store was robbed would be covered even if the psychological trauma was much less severe.

Judge writing on paperIs this “physical injury” rule the same in states other than Georgia?

Not necessarily.  Each state has its own workers compensation laws.  The courts in each state interpret these laws.

Some states have laws that have been written to make sure that workers compensation covers psychological conditions like PTSD, even when there is not a physical injury.  In some other states, the courts have interpreted the laws differently than Georgia courts and have concluded that psychological conditions are covered.

If you have a workers compensation claim in another state, you will certainly need to check with an attorney who handles workers compensation claims in the state where your claim is filed or needs to be filed.  If you need help finding an attorney, I can often recommend someone for you.

Could Georgia’s “physical injury” rule be changed in the future?

Yes.  Workers compensation law are not set in stone.  The Georgia legislature could amend the laws to provide that workers compensation covers psychological conditions even when there is no physical injury. Georgia’s courts could also revisit their prior decisions and decide differently in a new case.  But, courts do not do this very often.

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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