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Arnold & Placek Obtains Judgment that Impairment Benefits Cannot be Awarded for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

274th District Court, Comal County

Arnold & Placek, P.C. today obtained a complete summary judgment on Texas Mutual’s appeal from an adverse decision of the Division of Workers’ Compensation in this judicial review action.  The claimant filed for workers’ compensation after witnessing the aftermath of a break in at the animal shelter where she was employed.  Texas Mutual accepted the claim and the claimant was eventually diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). A designated doctor gave her a 35% whole person impairment rating based solely on her PTSD. The DWC upheld the designated doctor’s determination.

On appeal to the district court, Arnold & Placek filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of Texas Mutual, arguing that it was impermissible for the DWC to award any impairment rating for PTSD.  The court agreed and, in granting a full judgment for Texas Mutual, held that a claimant’s impairment rating, by statute, must be based on the American Medical Association’s guidelines, and those guidelines specifically state that it is not possible to assign an impairment rating for mental disorders such as PTSD.  Thus, the Court held that her impairment rating was 0%, as found by a second doctor that had evaluated the claimant.  Kyle Jones argued and obtained the summary judgment for Texas Mutual.

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