Last Updated: 5/18/2023

Traumatic physical injury at work developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Speaking to an Iowa Workers’ Compensation lawyer may prove worthwhile if you are experiencing physical and/or mental injuries. Although “invisible” injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder are just as real and debilitating as physical ones, it is often difficult to prove that they are work-related. 

If you suffered a traumatic physical injury at work that eventually led to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may be covered under your employer’s Workers’ Compensation plan. In order to have your PTSD compensated, you will need to prove a connection between the workplace accident and your mental illness.

Employers have the right to select a physician to treat you. If you disagree with the doctor’s assessment or impairment rating, you may request alternate care through your employer’s insurer or through the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner in Iowa.

You would be well-advised to consult with an attorney about Worker’s Compensation claims prior to filing for benefits. A lawyer can guide you through this process to ease the burden of handling a claim involving PTSD on your own.

Tips to Help Someone with PTSD

Naturally, you want to help your loved one cope with or heal from this trauma. The following are some tips that may help your loved one cope with the condition:

  • learn about PTSD - learn as much as you can about PTSD from reliable sources, such as the doctor treating your loved one;
  • attend doctor appointments - offer to go to medical appointments with your loved one;
  • plan enjoyable outings with your loved one - plan fun family activities or date nights; 
  • be a good listener - listen without pushing for revelations or solutions. Avoid constant harping on how you are ready to listen. If your loved one needs to stop, don’t push him or her to keep going;
  • make an appointment to talk with your loved one - arrange a time and place to talk about the accident or its effects. Choose a comfortable setting that doesn’t have a lot of distractions. But be available for any spur of the moment talks your loved one requests;
  • bring in a professional: help your loved one obtain effective talk therapy or other PTSD treatment with a therapist who specializes in PTSD. A doctor should be able to recommend a therapist;
  • take suicide threats seriously - some patients who suffer PTSD may suffer from suicidal thoughts. If your loved one talks about it or makes threats, get professional help right away. In cases of immediate danger, call 911 and explain the circumstances; and
  • get rid of dangerous items - remove guns and other weapons from the house. Also try to keep your home free of substances like pills and alcohol that are easy to abuse and that alter the decision-making process.

Get Help for the Rest of the Family

Don’t forget about the rest of the family. Seeing a loved one suffer from PTSD can be difficult for children, parents, and others close to him or her. Some benefit from counseling with a professional therapist to talk about PTSD and how it’s affecting their own life. Don’t neglect yourself either. If you need a break, ask someone else to help you out. If you want to speak to a therapist about your own feelings, make time to do so.

If your loved one’s PTSD is work-related, he or she may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. We know its a first hard step but getting help from an attorney in Des Moines who is familiar with such cases can help you recover fair benefits. Receiving fair workers’ comp can help take some of the stress out of the situation by addressing the financial burden if your loved one is unable to work.

An Iowa Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help

At Walker, Billingsley & Bair Attorneys at Law we can work to help you obtain Workers’ Compensation benefits if a work injury results in PTSD. Our team of lawyers will fight on your behalf for medical and disability benefits so you can get your life back on track. We can also appeal the decision if your claim is denied. Be sure to take a look at our free book, Iowa Workers’ Compensation – An Insider’s Guide to Work Injures: 7 Deadly Mistakes and call (888) 435-9886 to schedule a consultation.

Corey Walker
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With over 25 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.
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