Q: Am I eligible for workmans comp benefits if I suffer PTSD due to an incident that happened while I was at work?
I am a teacher for a head start program. As part of my job I am required to conduct Home visits at families residences. During one of my visits in August of 2022 there was a man shot and killed 50 ft from me. I heard the shots and once police came I went to the front door and saw the body right outside. I was stuck there for 2 hours while police had the area blocked off. Since this incident I've been dealing with a lot of PTSD symptoms which have effected my life. It has effected me at work, I find it hard to keep up with my work and stay focused. Its efected me at home. I am having trouble sleeping. I've really struggled. And recently I was written up at work. The write up was unwarranted and I strongly believe they are trying to force me out because of how much I've been struggling.
Ohio does not recognize workers' compensation claims for psychological conditions alone; they must be associated with a physical injury you sustain. Other states recognize these claims but not Ohio. You would have to sustain a physical injury, even a minor one, before the psychological condition may be recognized as a workers' compensation claim.
As a teacher, you may qualify for disability under a SERS or PERS program; I'd suggest you talk with the HR folks at PERS and SERS about this, and your union rep, too. If you have some sort of disability policy through work you may also want to look into that.
You have gone through a trauma witnessing this event. Nobody disputes that. Ohio simply does not recognize what's known as "mental-only" as compensable under its workers' compensation laws.
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