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Does workers' comp cover PTSD?

When you suffer an injury on the job, workers' compensation laws govern how much of that injury your employer is responsible for covering. Along with the physical injuries, you may also have psychological issues cropping up.

Your doctors believe you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the workplace injury. Does workers' compensation cover treatment for PTSD?

Is PTSD treatment covered?

Under Colorado's law, a psychological issue manifesting as a direct result of the workplace injury or traumatic event falls under workers' compensation coverage. This includes anxiety, depression and PTSD. Psychological problems which arise in this manner do not usually last forever; however, depending on the severity of the incident, the injury may wind up lingering.

In 2018, the statute's revision also included a more specific definition of a traumatic event:

  • Worker's injury resulted from an attempt by another to cause great harm by using deadly force
  • Worker witnesses a fatal attack where one or more persons violently perish
  • Worker witnesses serious bodily harm or injury to a person or persons either intentional or accidental

The three clarifying statements above only pertain to PTSD diagnosis and treatment.

What is the typical PTSD treatment?

Under the Colorado statutes, the typical treatment for PTSD lasts 12 sessions or visits. However, depending on the severity of the precipitating event, the possibility exists for the expansion of the treatment. Typical treatment for PTSD includes the following:

  • Discussion about the incident in detail and controlled breathing to control anxiety related to it
  • Talk therapy, typically 12 weeks, utilizing writing and verbal skills to dissect the trauma and help restore self-esteem
  • Group or solo therapy learning some physical responses to triggers and how to relieve them

Your doctor will determine the best combination of treatment for your particular circumstances.

If you become the victim of a violent act or accident at work, physical recovery may take some time. However, the mental anguish you suffer may linger past the physical. Getting help for PTSD under workers' compensation laws can give you the best shot at a full recovery.

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