I am a police officer in North Carolina. I was recently awarded retirement disability due to a citizen complaint. I was placed on paid administrative leave for almost a year and a criminal investigation was conducted. No evidence of any criminal wrongdoing was found.
My psychologist concluded that I suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and severe anxiety due to this situation and its duration.
Would I be eligible for workers compensation due to the psychological damage I suffered? Being approved for retirement disability, would I have a better chance to receive workers comp? Thank you for any information you are able to provide.
Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Post-traumatic stress disorder is described as:
“…a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.”
Presently the only way to diagnose post-traumatic stress is via a diagnosis from a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional qualified to diagnose mental illness. It looks as though you have already been diagnosed. Although PTSD is covered by workers compensation insurance, you can be sure it will be disputed.
If you claim PTSD you will likely have to submit to the workers comp insurance company’s Independent Medical Examination (IME). Whether you are eligible to receive duplicate coverage will be determined by the workers comp insurance coverage you had at the time of your diagnosis, or at the time of the event which triggered your PTSD. You will have to check with a representative of the insurance company to know for sure.
In the interim, gather copies of your mental health records related to your prospective PTSD workers compensation claim. Be sure to have the doctor’s written diagnosis of PTSD.
One caveat is if you do file a workers compensation claim the workers comp insurance company will have access to your medical or psychological records. That might mean the loss of doctor-patient confidentiality. Any matters you discussed with your doctor related to your PTSD will in effect become public.
Learn more here: Compensation for Emotional Distress
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.
Best of luck with your claim,
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