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North Dakota Supreme Court rules worker’s PTSD non-compensable


The North Dakota Supreme Court upheld a decision that an injured worker’s post-traumatic stress disorder was not a compensable injury despite its stemming from a workplace incident.

The court, in its Thursday decision, agreed with the findings of North Dakota Workforce Safety & Insurance, an administrative law judge and a district court judge, all of whom found Cliff Provins’ PTSD non-compensable.

Mr. Provins, who was employed by Dickinson, North Dakota-based Baranko Environmental LLC, was injured in May 2019 when he was crushed by a 2,000-pound trailer at work.

WS&I approved Mr. Provins’ claim for workers compensation benefits while he was out of work being treated for his injuries but in August 2020 denied benefits for a subsequent PTSD diagnosis and retroactively discontinued disability benefits as of Nov. 5, 2019.

An administrative law judge affirmed WS&I’s decision, as did a district court judge.

In upholding the district court ruling, the North Dakota Supreme Court said that “a reasoning mind reasonably could conclude Provins failed to establish the requisite causal connection between his physical injuries and his PTSD, as compared with all other contributing causes.”