Mental Health and Disability Claims – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder, often known by the abbreviation PTSD, is a serious medical condition that has debilitating effects on the lives of those it afflicts. PTSD may cause feelings of fear, anger and guilt for years. The anxiety resulting can interfere with your life daily, including your interpersonal and work relationships, your ability to eat or sleep or even leave the safety of home.
PTSD is an illness with a high prevalence in Canada, where a challenge to basic safety can be hard to get over. PTSD affects people of any age and women are two times more likely to develop it than men. Seven to eight of every 100 individuals will develop PTSD at some point in their life. While often associated with military personal who have served in a war, certain occupations, such as first responders, including paramedics, firefighters and police officers, experience high rates of PTSD in their profession. PTSD may also result from other life situations, such as a car accident, sudden illness or death a loved one, serious assault, loss of employment or other financial and/or emotional stress, including a separation or divorce. Trauma from PTSD can also transfer from parent to child or from client to trauma worker.
If you or someone you love may be suffering from PTSD in Calgary, Alberta, the experienced disability lawyers at Ludwar Law Firm can help you receive the compensation you need to assist in your recovery.
How Does PTSD Develop?
PTSD develops after being exposed to a traumatic event such as exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury or violent situation. You don’t need to be directly exposed to a traumatic event to develop PTSD. Learning of a traumatic event occurring to a family member can cause PTSD.
PTSD symptoms can begin immediately following the traumatic incident or develop gradually. In most cases, PTSD symptoms begin within three months of the trauma occurring. However, in other causes the symptoms may not develop until years after the trauma. There are also cases where individuals are exposed to multiple traumas, with no one being the singular cause of the PTSD. In these later circumstances, it may be more difficult to prove the symptoms being experience are caused by PTSD.
What are the Symptoms of PTSD?
There are many signs and symptoms of PTSD. No two people will experience PTSD in the same form. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Disturbing flashbacks of the trauma;
- Trouble sleeping;
- Emotional numbness;
- Angry outbursts;
- Feeling of guilt;
- Loss of interest in one’s previous activities;
- Avoiding things related to the traumatic event.
These symptoms can have a profound impact on your life, making it harder to trust, communicate and problem solve. You may have difficulty in your personal life with family and friends and your ability to function at work. While some sufferers of PTSD may get better in several months or years, others may be impacted by these symptoms for the rest of their life. Treatment may lessen the duration of PTSD, and it is often most effective when it is sought early on.
Because of the serious impact that PTSD can have on your life, you may need financial compensation. This compensation replaces lost wages as well as covers costs for counselling and medications which may be needed. Compensation may be available from the Worker’s Compensation Board, a private insurance plan, Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, an auto insurance plan (in the case of an auto accident), or by filing a personal injury lawsuit, depending on the unique situation.
Alberta’s Workers Compensation Act gives presumptive coverage to first responders diagnosed with PTSD. This means that when a first responder, including police officers, firefighters and select emergency medical technicians, it is presumed to have arisen out of their employment. Those working in other professions are required to prove their PTSD is work related to receive Workers Compensation benefits.
Because symptoms of PTSD may not develop immediately following the traumatic event, as well as there being unique symptoms in varying degree in each person, proving PTSD can be difficult. A 2011 decision of the Appeals Commission for the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board proves this case.
In this appeal, a worker who was welding at the time of the accident was injured in 2005 when he was trapped for three minutes in a confined below ground space after an air hose blew. Although the worker did not miss time from work initially, weeks after the injury he began suffering anxiety and insomnia which may have been PTSD related.
After an assessment, the Workers Compensation Board denied coverage on the basis of a psychological disorder, starting they could not confirm a diagnosis of PTSD related to the worker’s accident. As a result, the worker went from 2007 to 2011 without working and without receiving Workers Compensation Benefits.
On appeal, the worker’s representative used the neuropsychologist’s evidence to demonstrate the worker in fact had PTSD from a work-related incident and ensure the worker received proper benefits.
Contact Ludwar Law Firm for a Disability Lawyer in Calgary, Alberta
If you or someone you care about has developed PTSD, our experienced PTSD Disability lawyers will be able to help advocate your case to ensure you are fairly compensated. We can help you prepare your claim, whether you are seeking compensation from private insurance, car accident, or the Canada Pension Plan. Call 1-877-682-3476 for our law firm in Calgary, Alberta and ask for a disability lawyer. Contact us to schedule your free, no obligation, consultation.