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Mind or Body: Caring for our Injured Veterans and Workers4 minute read

Our law firm represents injured veterans and injured workers.  Most veterans receive benefits for their service-connected injuries through VA.  Most injured workers receive benefits for their injuries through state workers’ compensation systems.

Our nation’s veterans kept us safe.  VA is a promise to our veterans for the service they provide.

Our nation’s workers are a cornerstone of our nation’s economy.  Without them, our country would not be what it is.  Just take a look at World War II and the millions of women that worked to keep our nation’s economy going while our soldiers battled overseas.

We owe it to both groups to take care of them for the injuries they suffer doing their job .

Are we providing our veterans and workers with the care they deserve?

This is debatable. From my standpoint, the care provided to our veterans and our workers falls short of what it should be. One of the biggest areas where I see this shortfall is mental health benefits.

Doctors are continuing to learn more about brain injuries from better diagnostic technology

Many of us would consider our brain our most important organ.  It makes us who we are. Unfortunately, VA and Georgia’s workers’ compensation system have long failed to prioritize mental injuries.

Those systems have long recognized and paid benefits for physical injuries.  Veterans receive benefits for the physical wounds they suffered.  Thousands if not millions of physical wounds have occurred in combat over the last hundred years.

Injured workers also received benefits for their physical injuries.  Most state workers’ compensation systems pay benefits for injuries to any part of the body. These benefits usually include lost wage and medical benefits.

Why do VA and Georgia’s workers’ compensation’s system fall short when covering mental health?

This is difficult to say. Attitudes toward mental health and what might be called “mental injuries” have changed a lot in the last 100 years.

VA for a long time ignored mental injuries. Shell shock in World War I was often attributed to lack of moral fiber. We ignored many of our vets with PTSD when they returned from combat.  Benefits were not paid and treatment was not provided.

Unfortunately, there was a stigma associated with veterans who developed mental problems as a result of their service. VA has started turning that around. It now does a much better job of identifying and treating veterans with PTSD and other mental health conditions, but it still has a long way to go.

How Georgia’s workers’ compensation system discriminates against employees who suffer mental injuries

Unfortunately, Georgia’s workers’ compensation system still largely ignores injured workers with PTSD.  Injured workers can only receive benefits for PTSD and other “mental injuries” if they had an accompanying physical injury.

Let me give you an example. Suppose you are a convenience store clerk who is robbed. If the robber physically injures you by striking you, you will probably be able to recover benefits if you develop PTSD as a result of the robbery.

Georgia's workers' compensation benefits does not pay benefits for mental injuries unless accompanied by a physical injury

Now, change the example slightly. Suppose you are a convenience store clerk and are robbed. The robber holds a gun to your head and threatens to kill you. You are held hostage for hours while there is a standoff with police. However, you are never “physically” harmed. In this example, you would not receive Georgia workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD or any mental health condition that you developed from this traumatic event.

Georgia’s system ignores all the employees who are held up at gunpoint.  It ignores those who witness violent injuries.  It ignores those who are exposed to other traumatic events. It says PTSD and other mental health conditions are only covered when there is a physical harm.

This just does not make sense to me. I am not a doctor, but from what I know about PTSD, it has little to do with the degree of physical harm associated with the traumatic event. Many veterans receive PTSD benefits and treatment without any physical harm at all. So, why should Georgia’s workers’ compensation system require physical harm?

How can we improve the treatment of veterans and workers who suffer mental injuries

We need to take care of our injured veterans and our injured workers.  We need to take care of their bodies.  We also need to take care of their minds.

Hopefully, VA will continue to make progress in its treatment of mental injuries. Hopefully, the Georgia legislature will amend Georgia’s workers’ compensation to recognize that mental injuries are just as valid as physical injuries. Continuing to ignore mental injuries has a devastating effect on the men and women who suffer them.

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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