First responders in Florida are at an increased risk of suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as their line of work exposes them to a significant amount of trauma and stress. It is for this reason that first responders in Florida are permitted to file workers’ compensation claims related to PTSD. In order for a person to be considered a first responder, they must be employed as one of the following:
- A law enforcement officer
- Emergency medical technician
- Paramedic employed by the state or a local government
It is important to note that “a volunteer law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic engaged by the state or a local government is also considered a first responder of the state or local government [Source: Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation]”
Now, in order for a first responder to qualify for benefits, the following criteria must be met:
- The PTSD “must result from the first responder acting within the course of his or her employment,” and
- The first responder has been “examined and subsequently diagnosed with such disorder, due to one of the qualifying events listed in the law, by a licensed psychiatrist who is an authorized treating physician.”
The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation lists the following as qualifying events:
· Seeing a deceased minor.
· Witnessing the death of a minor.
· Witnessing a minor suffering an injury that ultimately led to their death before or upon arrival to the hospital.
· Participating in the treatment of a minor that later succumbed to their injuries.
· “Manually transporting a minor who subsequently died before or upon arrival a hospital emergency department.”
· Seeing a decedent “whose death involved grievous bodily harm of a nature that shocks the conscience.”
· Witnessing the death that involved grievous bodily harm of a nature that shocks the conscience.” This includes suicide.
· Witnessing a homicide.
· Witnessing an injury that led to a person’s death.
· Participating in the treatment of an injury that later led to a person’s death.
· Manually transporting an individual who suffered an injury and later succumbed to those injuries before or upon arrival to the hospital.
In order to file a workers’ compensation claim related to PTSD, you will need to notify your employer of your condition. Your employer should then provide you with the next steps you will need to take to open a claim. In the event your employer or their insurer has informed you that this type of condition is not covered, or you have been denied workers’ comp benefits, you are encouraged to schedule an initial consultation with a Miami, FL workers’ compensation lawyer.
Despite what your employer or their insurer says, a workers’ compensation attorney can help determine if you are entitled to benefits. To schedule an initial consultation with a Miami, FL workers’ compensation attorney and find out how they can help get your issue resolved, contact Mario Trespalacios P.A. at 305-261-5800.
Mario Trespalacios P.A. can be contacted at:
9495 SW 72 Street, Suite B-275
Miami, FL 33173