Under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act, in particular Minnesota Statute § 176.011, subdivision 15, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) is defined as an occupational disease. Because PTSD is defined as an occupational disease, the date the employee became disabled is the date of injury, not a specific traumatic event(s). Employers’ and insurers’ reliance of the date of a traumatic incident, rather than the date of disablement, unfairly denies workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers suffering from PTSD.
This is the first in a 2-part series analyzing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder injuries in the Minnesota workers’ compensation system. Part I describes the types of injuries in the workers’ compensation system and Part II demonstrates that PTSD should be categorized as an occupational disease type injury.
An Injured Worker’s Date of Injury is a Controlling Event
The date of an employee’s injury is a controlling event in Minnesota workers’ compensation law. This means that the law in effect on the date of the employee’s injury determines the amount and type of benefits to which the employee may be entitled. The date of injury is also important in avoiding statute of limitation or notice issues that may prevent employees from receiving benefits. Because PTSD was not a compensable injury under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act until after October 1, 2013, determining the date of injury is vital to a successful PTSD claim.