Throughout Florida, and many other states, 2018 was an eventful year in regard to traumatic events. With shootings taking place across Florida, lawmakers are working to protect first responders suffering from PTSD. They propose to help affected first responders by making a new law to provide workers’ compensation to those with PTSD.
What This Means
This new law, if approved, will ensure that any employee working in public safety who is diagnosed with PTSD will be covered under workers’ compensation and that there will be no questions about how they acquired their PTSD. Essentially, the employee will not need to prove their PTSD was work-related in order to receive money for treatment.
A Kentucky bill has been pre-filed that would make PTSD a compensable condition without requiring an associated physical injury. This could be huge news for those currently suffering from PTSD who receive little to no assistance from the government for treatment.
Robert Swisher, the commissioner for the state’s DWC, has stated that currently,
“Kentucky covers a psychological, psychiatric and stress-related condition only if such condition is the direct result of a physical injury.” He then continues with, “PTSD is not specifically mentioned in the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Act but would be treated the same as any other alleged psychological injury: compensability is triggered only if the psychological condition is the direct result of a physical injury.”
The Impact on Florida
Last year, Florida passed a law to provide more workers’ compensation coverage to first responders suffering from PTSD. This law increased the benefits available to first responders from solely medical coverage, to coverage that is now all-encompassing. However, this law for many has been “too little too late.”
Experts state that PTSD can’t be linked to just one incident, and instead builds up over time. Because of this, many people suffering from PTSD won’t notice its impact on their lives until it has fully consumed their thoughts. As it stands now, the new law in Florida requires those suffering from PTSD to prove that their suffering was caused directly from a work-related incident. There are specifics that the victim’s PTSD must match, including “grievous bodily harm of a nature that shocks the conscience.” This must also be proven by medical evidence for the first responder to be eligible to receive compensation.
Another bill was passed which allowed first responders to receive compensation for their PTSD without medical evidence. However, they must have received a pre-employment screening that proved the individual had no PTSD before being an employee—something very few people have done.
Suffering From Work-Related Mental Illness? Contact Morales & Cerino
Sadly, mental illness is rarely seen as an actual illness in the eyes of the law. Lawmakers are constantly attempting to tweak laws to make it as challenging as possible to seek the compensation you merit. Working with an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney is your best option to pursue what is legally yours.
At Morales & Cerino, our team of staunch workers’ compensation attorneys has helped those injured, both physically and mentally, at work seek out the compensation that allows them to return to a “normal” life. We have the knowledge and confidence to stand up against large insurance companies to provide our clients with the representation they deserve!
Call us today at (305) 340-2630 to schedule your free case evaluation to discuss your case.