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Court affirms dismissal of PTSD claim stemming from childhood


The Supreme Court of Tennessee, Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel, on Tuesday affirmed a dismissal of a workers compensation claim filed by a state worker who claimed a reprimand from her supervisor triggered her post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from a childhood car accident.

Bettye Shores worked as a program coordinator with the Tennessee Department of Human Services for 14 years without incident when on July 1, 2016, her supervisor “chided (her) purportedly for remarks she had made to a coworker about a promotion,” an event she claimed "lit up" her “preexisting, but asymptomatic, post-traumatic stress disorder… resulting from an automobile accident during her childhood,” according to documents in Bettye Shores v. State of Tennessee, filed in Nashville.

On Nov. 9, 2016, she gave notice to the state that she had suffered a workers compensation injury on the day of the reprimand. On Nov. 18, 2016, the state's workers compensation insurer CorVel Corp. denied the claim and informed Ms. Shores “of her right to request a benefit review conference within 90 days.” She did not file it until June 6, 2017, records state.

A state mediator issued a dispute resolution certificate on July 21, 2017, “indicating the matter was unresolved” and Ms. Shores appealed to the Tennessee Claims Commission on Aug. 18, 2017.

The state, meanwhile, moved to dismiss the claim, asserting Ms. Shores “failed to give timely notice of her alleged injury” as mandated by state law. After a hearing, the commissioner granted the motion to dismiss.

On appeal, the state’s highest court agreed with the commission, stating in the ruling that the commissioner “concluded there was no credible evidence Employer knew of Employee's alleged mental injury before Nov. 9, 2016. Having reviewed the entire record, we also conclude Employee presented no evidence Employer had any type of notice of a July 1, 2016 injury prior to Employee filing her claim.”






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