OH emergency responders with PTSD may soon be eligible for workers’ comp

A new bill would allow emergency responders in Ohio who develop post-traumatic stress disorder to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

When Ohio workers are physically injured while performing their duties, they are eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits to cover the cost of any needed medical care and lost wages. However, a new bill, according to The News-Herald, would allow emergency responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to receive workers' compensation benefits, even if they don't have a physical injury. This new law would apply to many different types of emergency responders, including police officers, emergency medical technicians and firefighters.

Opposition to the bill

Although this bill is designed to help emergency responders who are mentally injured on the job after being exposed to traumatic situations, police chiefs and local leaders in other states have criticized similar legislation, states The News-Herald. Some say that providing workers' compensation benefits to emergency responders with PTSD can lead to the system being abused with false claims.

However, proponents of this proposed Ohio bill do not believe that frivolous workers' compensation claims will become a problem. Although supporters say it is difficult to determine exactly how prevalent PTSD is among emergency responders, the negative connotation surrounding mental health issues could deter false claims from being filed.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD can develop after a person is threatened with physical harm or after he or she is physically harmed. An emergency responder can also develop PTSD if he or she witnesses someone else experiencing a dangerous event.

Those who live with PTSD may suffer from a variety of different symptoms. For example, a person with this mental illness may:

  • Relive the traumatic event over and over in his or her head and experience physical effects, like sweating or an elevated pulse, when this happens
  • Experience bad dreams
  • Regularly have frightening thoughts

Additionally, a person with PTSD may stay away from objects, events or places that remind him or her of the traumatic event, lose interest in previously enjoyed activities and feel emotionally numb. A person with this mental illness may also experience periods of uncontrollable anger and be easily startled. All of these symptoms can make it difficult for a person to conduct daily activities, like eating, concentrating or sleeping.

Seeking compensation

Although Ohio emergency responders may not be able to receive workers' compensation benefits for PTSD at present, these employees and others who are involved in a workplace accident can still receive compensation for physical injuries. If you were injured while at work, speak with an attorney to determine what you can do to protect your rights to fair and proper compensation.

Keywords: PTSD, workers' compensation, injury