Workers' Compensation: First Responders

For the first responders on the scene of the Newtown shooting last month, there may be options to pursue workers' compensation due to post-traumatic stress disorder. A state Senator and U.S. Army veteran addressed the need to include post-traumatic stress disorder in the workers' compensation laws. She told the Associated Press that there have recently been moves to care of returning veterans who are suffering as a result of their service, but at current, there are not provisions in the law for workers' compensation.

Following the shooting, first responders found themselves haunted by the events of that day and were unable to return to work. For those that used up their sick or holiday time, that might mean going without a paycheck. However, if post-traumatic stress disorder were to be included in the workers' compensation laws, they would be able to apply for the benefits while they seek treatment.

The debate will now go on to address whether only physical injuries ought to be covered by workers' compensation. Emotional and psychological trauma can result from numerous aspects of workplace events -- not only sustaining personal injuries but also witnessing accidents, or being a first responder to a violent event.

For those who have been affected by injuries or events in the workplace, there may be workers' compensation options available. For the responders to violent events, whether they make the news as prominent shootings or the result of workplace accidents, there may be long-lasting unseen consequences. Seeking the assistance of an attorney experienced in the workers' compensation system may help.

Source: WABC, "Newtown first responders may get workers' comp," Stephen Singer, Jan. 20, 2013

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