There has been a landmark change signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott. The state of Florida will now cover incidences of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) under workers’ compensation insurance for first responders. Post-traumatic stress disorder is an illness that is brought about by a life-threatening, or especially frightening or dangerous experience. PTSD has only been recognized as a formal diagnosis since 1980.
While the most widely known cause of post-traumatic stress disorder is recognized as war, in actuality there are quite a few more factors that can cause an onset of the condition. Statistically, approximately 5 to 8% of the population, or 5 million people in the United States, will suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. The highest of that group are victims of rape and combat veterans which make up 10 to 30% of those suffering from this affliction.
Other relevant causes of PTSD include witnessing or being a victim of traumatic events such as a severe accident, kidnapping, physical injury, natural disaster, robbery, assault, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, just to name a few on a very long list.
Under the new rules, first responders must meet one of the 11 conditions for their PTSD to be compensable under Florida’s workers’ compensation law. Some of these conditions include seeing a dead child, being a witness to a murder, and treating a severely injured person.
The symptoms, as well as the severity of symptoms, vary greatly among people living with PTSD. There are three groups of symptoms that are needed to diagnose an individual.
The first group involves recurrently re-experiencing the traumatic event. This group of symptoms may manifest themselves in the form of having flashbacks or bad memories and recurrent nightmares of the trauma.
The second group of symptoms are signs of avoidance to the point that it develops into a phobia. This phobia will cause the sufferer to be reminded of the trauma of places, people and even experiences that can be likened to the traumatic experience.
The third group of signs is physical. A person who has post-traumatic stress disorder will experience sleep problems and hyperarousal, hypervigilance to threats, blackouts, problems with memory, irritability, problems concentrating, anger and the propensity to be easily startled.
People living with post-traumatic stress disorder will sometimes be described as being “numb.” They may not be as easily excited by things that they once enjoyed. They may also have a constant feeling of uneasiness and impending doom. They may also be emotionally unattached and become more aggressive. The new bill will provide medical as well as paid leave for first responders who meet the eligibility requirements.
If you are a first responder looking for an attorney to represent you regarding your Florida workers’ compensation case, I am attorney Joseph Rooth, a Board Certified Florida workers’ compensation attorney. I have been in practice since 1994, and have helped many people receive the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. I handle all the paperwork for you. I appear at hearings by your side until we receive a fully-favorable decision. There are deadlines involved, so we have a limited time to act. Give us a call today at 727-849-3400, or contact us online.