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Commission Puts the Brakes on Truck Driver’s Mental-Mental Claim

In a recent case upheld by the Commission – Shea v. RPRD Dyckman, Inc. –  a truck driver’s claim for benefits was denied after the Arbitrator found that he failed to meet both prongs of the compensability analysis for claims of purely psychological injury, or a psychological injury with no associated physical trauma.

In these cases, a claimant must show that:

  • He experienced a severe and sudden emotional shock; and,
  • The psychological injury was immediately apparent.

In this case, the claimant, a semi-truck driver, was involved in a motor vehicle accident.  Immediately after the accident, he heard screams and saw a man lying in the road with horrific head injuries.  At trial, he testified that he experienced shock, felt sick, was irritable and agitated, worried constantly, and had trouble sleeping.

He also testified that he was able to perform his regular job duties within days of the accident, had looked for work as a truck driver after the accident, and did not seek psychological treatment until seven months after the alleged date of accident.

In denying benefits, the Arbitrator cited the above in finding that the claimant failed to prove he had sustained an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment.

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