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State supreme court upholds workers' compensation decision

There is a growing trend among states to extend workers' compensation claims to include post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by trigger events. Following a November 2013 state supreme court order, workers' compensation benefits were provided for a Pennsylvania State trooper who made a claim for psychological disability after killing a woman who ran in front of his car.

Another state supreme court has followed suit with the trend when it ruled against a clothing store and its insurer, and ordered both to pay for the inpatient chemical dependency treatment and future medical expenses of a former employee. The clothing store and insurer were also ordered to continue payment of temporary disability benefits.

The former store manager was warned by robbers not to report a June 2011 crime that occurred in the clothing store. He did not heed the threats, and the two men were arrested.

To prevent the store manager from testifying, a brother to one of the robbers showed up two weeks after the robbery and shot the former employee 12 times. In addition, the brother repeatedly threatened the store manager, his mother and his son. Again, the store manager didn't back down. He testified, sending all the defendants to jail.

His medical expenses were covered by workers' compensation during his physical recovery. He was also receiving temporary disability benefits.

The former employee began seeing a therapist three months after being shot.  The man was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and chemical dependency, for which he sought outpatient care.

But when the store manager sought inpatient treatment after an October 2011 panic attack, the store and insurance company became litigious.

A state supreme court has now upheld an earlier ruling issued by the workers' compensation court.

One of the last places one would think of as being unsafe is the one place in which the most time is spent -- at work. After an on-the-job accident or trauma, it is important to seek the help of an experienced attorney as you navigate your road to full recovery.

Source: The Omaha World Herald, "Nebraska Supreme Court: Workers' comp includes PTSD, drug treatment after store shooting," Martha Stoddard, April 12, 2014

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