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Teacher traumatized by student fight seeks workers' compensation

Many types of worker injuries can lead to an inability to return to work that may be compensable by workers’ compensation benefits. Most of those workplace injuries are caused by some form of physical traumafter an accident of some kind. But workers’ compensation benefits can also apply to mental and psychological trauma caused by conditions in the workplace.

The alleged lack of security in a high school has led one woman to file a workers’ compensation claim based upon acute stress that she claims is the consequence of her involvement in a fight between two students at the school. The woman struck one of the students with a broom in her attempt to end the altercation. 

To add to the teacher’s claimed mental trauma, she believes that she was fired for her reaction to the altercation. The school board disagrees, saying that it sent her a letter expressing its intention to recommend her termination to the school board but never actually terminated her.

In response to the board’s claim, the woman produced evidence of the board’s offer to reinstate her, which also expressed the board’s intention to improve security at the school per her request.

The teacher’s doctors have advised her not to return to work due to acute stress disorder. They are also continuing to observe the woman due to the possibility of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Teachers in any state including Ohio could suffer similar mental injuries while trying to maintain order in their school. This teacher’s case is an example of how workers’ compensation may apply to injuries that are not necessarily evident, such as physical injuries. But psychological injuries can be just as serious, or even more so.

With proper attention, a bone will usually heal. Psychological trauma can haunt someone for years. Because these subjective injuries can be more difficult to prove however, the assistance of a workers’ compensation attorney may be helpful in securing the appropriate benefits.


Detroit Free Press, "Broom-wielding Detroit teacher too traumatized to work, attorney says," Ann Zaniewski, July 10, 2014

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