Police officers, paramedics, firefighters and other public safety officials risk their lives daily. Faced with some of the worst imaginable situations, most of these dedicated professionals are lucky to leave work every day without injury. The workers’ compensation system for physical injuries is rather reliable, though medical bill coverage can be complicated.
These professionals often witness tragic scenes, resulting in injuries that are not only physical in nature. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental disorder that manifests after a shocking or traumatic event. After displaying itself, PTSD can be triggered by seemingly harmless actions that can cause flashbacks to the trauma. These flashbacks may cause erratic or violent behavior as they relive the memory.
PTSD coverage in workers‘ compensation
Considered a real issue for soldiers returning from war, PTSD can happen to anyone that experiences a trauma. Recognition of PTSD as a workplace illness did not exist until 2013. This in turn made it incredibly difficult to receive benefits covering its treatment.
The Minnesota bill passed in 2018 creates a statutory presumption that a PTSD injury is work-related for certain public safety and emergency workers. This provision will go into effective on January 1, 2019.
- Licensed nurses employed to provide emergency medical care outside of a hospital
- Officers employed by the state or a political subdivision at a corrections, detention, or secure treatment facility
- Sheriffs, full-time deputy sheriffs
- Members of the State Patrol
The bill specifically includes the above individuals for additional protection under the Minnesota workers’ compensation act. According to Chapter 185, “any substantial factors which shall be used to rebut this presumption and which are known to the employer or insurer at the time of the denial of liability shall be communicated to the employee on the denial of liability.” Though this provision may not remove all litigation on PTSD in first responders, it’s a major step towards helping individuals who suffer from the disorder.