Is PTSD covered under workers’ comp?

Most people understand that if you deserve to have your employer cover the cost of your on-the-job physical injuries. Often there is not nearly as much focus on how jobs can cause emotional damage to employees.

If the nature of the job is particularly distressing, an employee could develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from their line of work. It happens all the time to our servicemen and servicewomen.

While these mental injuries can affect someone’s wellbeing, are they covered under workers’ compensation regulations in Oklahoma?

Mental harm from physical injuries

Unfortunately, mental injuries are not covered under workers’ compensation unless they are the result of a physical injury. The only time this limitation is not applicable is when an employee was a crime of workplace violence.

A television videographer for KOKH Channel 25 in Oklahoma City recently sought workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD related to his film work covering tragic events, and he lost his case in the Oklahoma Court of Appeals. Despite recording events and interviews that were tragic and shocking, thus causing him distress, his case did not fall under the stipulations outlined by state workers’ compensation laws.

However, if a physical injury left you mentally distressed or you were a victim of workplace violence, you may be eligible for benefits, even if insurance initially denies a claim. State law will need to catch up to cover victims who experience PTSD through their work, but there are instances where a mental injury could be covered under workers’ compensation laws in Oklahoma.

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