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Law Offices of William J. Kropach

Workers with PTSD eligible for workers' compensation benefts

While claims for workers' compensation benefits tend to center on physical injuries, it is not uncommon for emotional injuries to form the basis of such claims.  The story of a firefighter who witnessed his friend's death in a fire exemplifies this notion.

The firefighter responded to a distress call in March 2010. He was in charge of the firefighting operation and one of his subordinates (a friend of his) entered the building. After seeing a flash, other firefighters dragged his friend from the building. The man later died from his injuries. 

After the incident, the firefighter was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was treated by a therapist. More than a year after the incident, he was still suffering from symptoms and petitioned for workers' compensation benefits. Unfortunately, a workers' comp arbitrator ruled against him; ruling that he essentially had not suffered a compensable injury given that he had returned to work.

The workers compensation board affirmed the decision. Also, a trial court judge who reviewed the case ruled against the firefighter. However, an appellate court panel overturned the trial court decision. The panel found that the firefighter was still suffering the psychological effects of an injury stemming from a single, traumatic event. Further, the panel ruled that the testimony from the firefighter's psychologists and therapists were credible, and that was unable to function in his duties.

Overall, the firefighter endured a four-year legal battle before finally receiving benefits. However, the story exemplifies the need for experienced legal counsel when seeking benefits to compensate for non-traditional (and non physical) injuries. 

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  1. My injury and subsequent WC case was one of the most difficult times in my life, and I wouldn't wish this upon my worst enemy. Throughout the entire ordeal though, Mr. Kropach and Ms. Shibata stood by my side, providing me amazing support.

    - Wpark
  2. I was in a very serious accident in early 2000 and found that Attorney Kropach and his Staff especially his paralegal Jill paid close attention to my case and no matter how many questions I asked they always had time to explain in layman's language what I needed to know.

    - Janice Ann
  3. I have been lucky to have William Kropach handle two different workers' compensation cases in the last several years that exceeded all of my expectations.

    - Arabella
  4. I hired Mr. Kropach years ago due to the fact that he was head of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association. After the insurance company denied my claim I thought my case was over but my attorney fought the insurance company all the way to the appellate court and WON.

    - Workers’ Compensation Client
  5. I hired Mr. Kropach years ago due to the fact that he was head of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association. After the insurance company denied my claim I thought my case was over but my attorney fought the insurance company all the way to the appellate court and WON.

    - Workers’ Compensation Client
  6. I have a 18 year old work-comp case. Mr. Kropach never gave up or settled for anything less. He kept fighting for my rights to win. He realized I was in the right and He never once asked me to just give up.I won my case 100 %

    - Edward
  7. I have known Bill for over 25 years. He is personable and very knowledgeable in the area of Workers Comp. My experience during this very stressful time has been excellent. His staff is courteous and efficient and always kept me up to date with my case.

    - Donna
  8. I hired Mr. Kropach for my workers compensation claim about 3 years ago. I was suffering severe pain on my elbow as a result of my job. Mr. Kropach was superb in helping me settle this case.

    - Dax
  9. Bill treated me with care, individuality, and really examined my case carefully. I was immediately impressed with his track record and his dedication to voluntary unpaid community services.

    - Brad
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