Law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other public safety officials are often considered the best of us. They are faced daily with some of the worst situations imaginable, and most of these dedicated professionals are lucky to come out with no injuries every day. However, some do not come out unscathed. For physical injuries, the worker’s compensation system is a stalwart, albeit it slightly complicated companion to see that their medical bills are covered. However, with these professionals witnessing tragic scenes sometimes multiple times per day, not all injuries are of a physical nature.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is defined as a mental disorder that manifests after a shocking or traumatic event. After it manifests, it can be triggered by seeming innocuous actions that can cause the sufferer to flashback to their trauma. Something like popcorn popping in a microwave can make a sufferer of PTSD recall gunshots, causing them to shut down or even act in an erratic or violent manner as they get caught up in the memory of their trauma. Furthermore, the flashbacks can have long-lasting effects on their personality as well without treatment. It is considered a real issue for soldiers returning from our wars abroad, most commonly.
However, PTSD is not only for soldiers returning from war, it can happen to anyone that experiences a trauma, and our public safety officials expose themselves to more trauma than they should have to for our safety. However, while there are some cases of worker’s compensation covering PTSD in Minnesota, it is still yet to be recognized as a workplace illness, making worker’s compensation benefits covering its treatment incredibly difficult to get.
Over the past few months, Senator Dan Schoen introduced an amendment to the Minnesota Senate that included a provision that would ensure that PTSD would be classified as a presumptive injury, much in the same way that cancer or a heart attack would be. This means that it would finally be recognized as a work illness for the hardworking police officers and firefighters that are exposed to so much danger every day in the state.
After much debate, the amendment was passed unanimously in the Minnesota Senate, but not without struggles. While many people, particularly politicians, like to say they support our police and firefighters, some have been working against this amendment which would support these hard-working men and women. Corporate interests on the Capitol are pushing back against the amendment as it sits in Minnesota’s House of Representatives because they believe that provisions like this one would add to their costs.
This makes it appear like the Capitol does not want one more cent to be paid out to those who deserve to be taken care of after they were injured or traumatized in the line of duty. If someone you care about is a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, or some other public safety official, bill supporters like Senator Dan Schoen are encouraging you to write into your representative in support of the amendment.
As worker’s compensation lawyers, the Meshbesher Law Firm also supports this provision. We have helped a lot of dedicated public safety officials get the workers’ compensation benefits that their physical injuries deserve. Regardless of whether this amendment passes, we still want to help those with PTSD and other work injuries. If you have been hurt at work, contact us today to see how we can help you get the compensation that you need.