NEWS / Legal News - March 2023

PTSD - Chrz v. Mower County

The employee worked as a sheriff’s deputy and was diagnosed with work-related post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) on September 25, 2019.

On March 30, 2021, the employee’s psychologist found that the employee’s condition had improved such that he no longer met all of the DSM-5 criteria for a valid PTSD diagnosis. Instead of PTSD, she found that his work-related mental health condition after March 30, 2021, was “other specified trauma and stress related disorder.” She continued to support his claim for disability from working in law enforcement due to his work-related mental-health condition. The employee then filed a Claim Petition for ongoing workers’ compensation benefits.

A Compensation Judge awarded the employee ongoing benefits.

The employer and insurer appealed, and the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (“WCCA”) reversed in part, holding that the employee was not entitled to any workers’ compensation benefits after March 30, 2021.

The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the WCCA. It held that, even if an employee remains disabled from a work-related mental health condition that was originally diagnosed as PTSD, the claim stops being compensable once the employee no longer meets the diagnostic criteria set forth by the latest DSM. Because the employee in this case no longer had an ongoing compensable work injury under the current legislative framework, he was not entitled to ongoing workers’ compensation benefits.

The court did remark in a footnote that, curiously, the employee did not claim that his other mental conditions were consequential injuries of his PTSD. Because the employee did not claim a consequential injury, the Court took no position on whether such a claim would be compensable.


In any case involving PTSD, it is important to continually monitor the employee’s diagnosis to ensure that the employee remains qualified to received workers’ compensation benefits.