Is post-traumatic stress disorder covered by Virginia workers’ compensation?

A reader wants to know if post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition covered by the Virginia workers’ compensation system. As usual, the answer depends on the specific facts of the case.

As a general rule, PTSD is compensable under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act when it is caused by an obvious sudden shock or fright. For example, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission awarded benefits to a claimant who developed PTSD weeks after being involved in an explosion that killed two co-workers. Hercules, Inc. v. Gunther, 13  Va. App. 357, 412 S.E.2d 185. In affirming the full commission in Gunther, the Court of Appeals held that the fact that the PTSD manifested at a time after the incident that caused it did not bar the claimant from receiving benefits.

Corey Pollard is a workers compensation attorney in Richmond, Virginia. Contact him today for a confidential, free consultation.