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Can First Responders Get Workers’ Compensation For PTSD?

Posted on in Workplace Injury

Fort Collins workers comp lawyerEvery day, first responders put their lives in danger to help those in need. Because their jobs require them to be near hazardous circumstances, it is possible for first responders to sustain injuries, both physical and mental. If you have suffered physical injuries or developed a harmful psychological condition like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to events witnessed while working, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

PTSD And Other Injuries Suffered By First Responders

First responders including firefighters, police officers, and other professionals who provide emergency medical services regularly face dangerous situations while on the job. First responders commonly sustain injuries due to hazards they experience while working including repetitive stress injuries and injuries resulting from exposure to harmful substances, slip and fall accidents, and workplace violence. Other threats frequently faced by first responders include:

  • Vehicle crash injuries

  • Assault

  • Lifting injuries

  • Hearing loss

  • Blood-borne pathogens

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder, while usually not caused by physical injuries suffered on the job, continues to affect many first responders who witness death, serious injuries, and violence. People who suffer from PTSD often experience nightmares, flashbacks, and emotional distress due to the re-experiencing of specific moments of trauma. For example, when police officers, EMTs, and firefighters respond to a fatal vehicle accident, the observations made at the scene may cause a worker to develop PTSD.

Pursuing a Workers’ Comp Claim for PTSD in Colorado

In 2018, the state of Colorado expanded the benefits included in workers’ compensation to sufferers of PTSD who observed specific types of traumatic events, even in cases when the event is a part of the worker’s typical work experience. As of 2020, the benefits were extended to employees who witnessed the events only in an audible manner.

Any employee who pursues a workers’ compensation claim for PTSD that developed due to their job is likely to face intense scrutiny by their employer’s insurance company. It is likely that the insurance company will investigate the employee’s personal life by running background checks, interviewing co-workers, and examining their medical history. Employees should approach their claim equipped with documentation describing their symptoms and medical records detailing visits with a mental health specialist.

In the event that the employee’s claim is approved, the worker may be eligible for benefits to cover any necessary treatment costs. It is also possible for an employee to receive temporary disability benefits if they need to take time off work to adequately recover from their condition.

Contact Our Larimer County Workers’ Compensation Attorney

While Colorado law entitles most injured workers to certain benefits, it can be difficult to secure compensation for psychological conditions like PTSD. Our Fort Collins workers’ compensation lawyers can assist you in the filing process, help you meet important deadlines, and gather evidence to support your claim or appeal a denial. If you suffer from work-related PTSD or other psychological conditions due to your job, contact our team at Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation by calling 970-225-2190.

 

Sources:

https://www.businessinsurance.com/article/00010101/NEWS08/912312987/Colorado-Senate-passes-bill-expanding-workers-comp-for-PTSD

https://cdle.colorado.gov/dwc/injured-workers

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

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Fort Collins, CO 80524

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