Workers’ Compensation Coverage for PTSD

Feb 13 2024

Josh Goodbaum: Hi, Amanda.

Amanda DeMatteis: Hi, Josh. What are we gonna talk about today?

Goodbaum: Well, I wanna talk about workers’ compensation. Because, in addition to being an outstanding employment lawyer who represents employees, you are also an outstanding workers’ compensation lawyer who represents claimants – that is, people who are hurt on the job. And for those who don’t know, workers’ compensation is the system by which employees who get hurt on the job can receive compensation and also medical care related to their injuries.

And I understand there’s been an important change in the law of Connecticut with respect to employees who develop PTSD related to something that happens to them at work. So, tell us what PTSD is, and tell us what Connecticut employees need to know about these new rights that they have.

DeMatteis: Josh, this is an expansion of rights and it’s super important – just the type of news that we love to deliver in videos like this.

PTSD is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the amount of employees in Connecticut that had access to workers’ compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder was really limited. You either had to be a first responder – think of a police officer, a firefighter, an EMT – or you had to be injured yourself and then develop post-traumatic stress disorder or some other type of mental illness from your own physical injury.

PA 23-35 expands that in two different ways. No. 1, nearly all employees who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder may be covered under our workers’ compensation statutes. No. 2, it expands the type of event that an employee needs to witness in order to qualify for entitlements and protections under our Connecticut workers’ compensation statutes for post-traumatic stress disorder.

So, what are some of those new qualifying events that would now entitle you to workers’ compensation benefits? Really tragic stuff: viewing a deceased minor, witnessing the death of a person or an incident involving the death of a person, witnessing an injury to a person who subsequently dies before or upon admission at a hospital as a result of the injury, having physical contact with treating an injured person, carrying an injured person who subsequently dies before or upon admission at a hospital, and witnessing a traumatic physical injury that results in the loss of a vital body part or an organ.

Now, obviously, this is going to expand the coverage of our workers’ compensation entitlements to a lot of folks in the healthcare industry, which is wonderful because think of all those people who were treating the very sick through the COVID-19 pandemic that didn’t have access to this type of benefit under our workers’ compensation statutes. But also think of contractors working at a job site: maybe there’s an awful injury and someone gets pinned under a large piece of machinery and ultimately loses their life. The folks who witnessed that event now may qualify under this new and expanded law.

So, there are a lot of potential people that can be impacted by this and really benefit from it. So, this is the type of expansion, Josh, that we like to see in our law.

Goodbaum: So, if folks have something happen to them at work and they are really struggling – maybe they’ve got a diagnosis of PTSD or they just think something’s not right – that’s the time to go talk with a workers’ compensation lawyer, right, Amanda?

DeMatteis: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. Make the phone call and talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer about it. Let’s see if you qualify under this expanded law and hopefully get the benefits that you deserve.

Goodbaum: Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that, Amanda, and thank you all for watching. We’ll see you next time.

DeMatteis: Take care.

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josh goodbaum discussing workers compensation for ptsd

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