First Responders Workers’ Compensation Update: Establishing a Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) Claim

First responders have physically demanding and often dangerous jobs. The risk for bodily harm is high. The most common physical injuries to first responders include overexertion, strains, and harm from assault or other violent acts. Their wounds aren’t always bodily though. Firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics deal with graphic and traumatizing situations. Adverse effects on mental health are not uncommon.

Psychological trauma can occur both with and without physical injuries, sometimes requiring professional help such as therapy or medication. The current law in Pennsylvania states that to make a post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) workers’ compensation claim, an employee must demonstrate that they have experienced “objective abnormal working conditions.” A bill by two Pennsylvania state senators is trying to change this rule.

Senators Camera Bartolotta and Mike Regan have drafted a bill entitling first responders to receive worker’s compensation for any psychological traumas that occur while working. The bill asserts that proving “objective abnormal working conditions” for a psychological injury can be difficult to achieve, especially for first responders who deal with high-stress and emotional situations every day. The bill would require a diagnosis from a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist for a PTSI or PTSD claim. By creating clear criteria for establishing PTSI and PTSD workers’ compensation, the bill looks to make mental health care more accessible for first responders.

First responders put their physical and mental health on the line almost daily. If you or a loved one experiences psychological trauma while at work, it is important you receive fair and just compensation for loss of earnings, damages, and medical expenses. Contact Dugan & Associates today online or by telephone at 412-353-3572 to speak with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania worker’s compensation lawyer to get the treatment and compensation you deserve.

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