PTSD, also known as post-traumatic stress disorder is an issue that plagues first responders. Many law enforcement officers, firefighters, and paramedics suffer from PTSD because they witness traumatic events almost every day. These men and women are the first on the scene when accidents, fire, overdoses, and other horrific events. Sadly, the State of Ohio is attempting to limit their ability to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits due to on-the-job PTSD.
Current Laws Require a Physical Injury
Under current Ohio law, first responders must present with a physical injury to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Even if the diagnosis is PTSD, it must stem from a physical injury. For example, if they were shot while chasing a perpetrator, or were hit by a burning beam in a building, they could qualify for both the physical injury and any PTSD that occurred due to its circumstances. If they just suffer from PTSD after trying to save a drowning victim or witnessing the death of a young child, they wouldn’t be able to file for worker’s compensation at all. It is definitely not fair and changes must occur.
Law Makers Attempting Change
Recently, members of the State House of Representative recommended funds from the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation budget should be made available to compensate first responders with PTSD. If this legislation passes, employees won’t have to prove their PTSD stemmed from a physical injury. Instead, they can just file a claim based on their mental suffering. Many of the business groups in the state oppose this, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association. They are afraid that once first responders are able to file for workers’ compensation due to a mental condition, other, regular workers will fight to do the same. They prefer that first responder receive treatment for PTSD under a different program that is set up for them alone.
First Responders Need Treatment for PTSD
The one thing that no one argues is the fact that first responders are prone to a PTSD diagnosis due to the state of their jobs. They need treatment so that they can get back out on the streets and effectively save lives. Workers’ compensation should be the answer to their problems, despite people’s objections.
If you have suffered an injury on the job, you may qualify for workers’ compensation. Call me. I’ll Make Them Pay!®