Not all workplace injuries are visible. Many workers in Illinois and elsewhere have witnessed co-workers suffering catastrophic or even fatal injuries. It is not uncommon for those who were present during such an incident to suffer psychological trauma. If this is ignored, affected workers could be distracted enough to cause subsequent workplace accidents. Victims of work-related accidents might have questions about their eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits
Safety authorities have identified some of the signs that traumatized workers might experience. They include physical symptoms like chills, fatigue, dizziness, chest pain and headaches. The traumatized worker might also show cognitive problems like confusion, uncertainty, memory, and concentration problems, along with nightmares.
Red flags that could indicate emotional problems include grief, guilt, fear, anxiety, irritability, anger and depression. The traumatized worker could find it difficult to rest, become withdrawn, lose appetite, and some might even increase their alcohol consumption. Different people experience such trauma differently, and while some may overcome it within a matter of weeks, others remain traumatized. If this lasts longer than four weeks, it becomes post-traumatic stress disorder, which could have life-changing consequences.
Psychological treatment can be costly, and affected workers might be unable to return to work for extended periods, if ever. Although PTSD and less severe trauma suffered by workers after witnessing co-workers dying or suffering catastrophic injuries are clearly work-related, claiming workers’ compensation benefits under these circumstances is not necessarily an easy process. For this reason, many traumatized workers in Illinois seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the benefits claims process on their behalf in pursuit of maximum applicable benefits.