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Automobile Collisions / Workers' Compensation

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Workers' compensation awarded for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome

Serious workplace injuries can be quite varied in their mechanisms. They are not always physical injuries either but can sometimes be mental impairments. Milwaukee attorneys have seen many different kinds of workplace injuries and helped many people receive workers' compensation to which they were entitled.

An unusual workers' compensation case in Pennsylvania was recently heard and awarded by the U.S. Supreme Court. A Pennsylvania state trooper suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after striking and killing a 28-year-old woman with his vehicle while in the line of duty.

The woman's family had reported her missing. She allegedly suffered from a mental disorder and was seen walking back and forth beside a highway, according to other drivers. All of a sudden, the woman darted into the road right in front of the trooper's car. The trooper quickly exited his car and did his best to revive the woman. He was trying to direct traffic away from them both while trying to help her, but it was to no avail. The woman died at the scene.

The experience was very traumatic for the trooper. He was unable to work for over a month after the accident, which occurred on Nov. 29, 2006. He returned to work in 2007, only to struggle with anxiety and severe stress, to the point that he was unable to function in his duties as a police officer.

Filing for workers' compensation with both the Commonwealth court and the Workers Compensation Appeal Board was futile. He was denied because the courts claimed that his traumatic experience was an expected possibility in a police officer's job.

However, an appeal to the Supreme Court saw things differently. They claimed that this type of experience is not a routine danger that police officers face. It was "highly unusual," and the high court finally ruled in the trooper's favor after six years.


Source: 
pennlive.com, "Supreme Court orders workers compensation benefits for state trooper involved in traumatic fatal crash on I-81" Matt Miller, Nov. 04, 2013

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