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Worker’s Compensation-Claims are More Than Just Physical in Nature

Posted Dec 29 2009 10:30pm

In Montgomery County, Maryland, a police officer filed a worker’s compensation claim for hypertension and subsequent heart disease. Some states recognize that positions of high stress can cause long term consequences. High stress, high adrenaline jobs like law enforcement, fire fighters, and even air traffic controllers have high levels of stress associated with their jobs. Exposure to stress in these situations can place the body at risk for life altering diseases like hypertension and heart disease. However, the right to file a worker’s compensation claim does not stop there. In Smith- Price v. Charter Pines Behavioral Center, a nurse was being treated for severe migraine headaches and post traumatic stress disorder that began after a young girl died on the nurse’s psychiatric floor. Although the nurse did not provide the direct care for the young girl, the nurse was affected by the untimely death of this child. The Supreme Court ruled that the nurse is eligible for worker’s compensation on the basis that “her migraines from PTSD were an occupational disease, due to factors peculiar to and characteristic of her specific occupation and not due to the types of stress ordinarily borne by the workforce at large.” (Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter, Sept. 2003)

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