There is a new proposed legislation in Connecticut to try and ensure officers and first responders are compensated for any post-traumatic stress symptoms they might suffer due to their job.
Senate leaders and police union representatives are calling for the passage of legislation that would expand workers' compensation coverage to first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The legislation would cover police officers, firefighters and ambulance workers who witness or come upon the direct aftermath of a "death or maiming " provided the injuries were the result of a person's actions. Motor vehicle accidents are excluded.
A similar bill passed the Senate last year, but was never taken up in the House. Opponents have said the legislation is too vague and places a financial burden on municipalities. Legislators and law enforcement advocates have been pushing for the bill since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On Monday, state and local police officers gathered with lawmakers in Hartford to show support.
Sgt. David Orr, of the Norwalk Police Department, said Monday that those who responded to the school and "spent countless hours investigating that scene deserve help."
There are 32 states that offer workers' compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder, said Orr, president of Norwalk's police union.
Andrew Matthews, president of the Connecticut State Police Union, said law enforcement officers are "forced to live with things for many years, even after retirement."
In 1993, the state dropped mental impairment from eligibility for workers' compensation benefits. This was a "terrible mistake," said Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney.
"Mental injuries are real injuries that should be recognized in the workers' compensation system," Looney said. "To deny they are (real) is a denial of modern science."
This just doesn't only apply to emergency workers...PTSD and emotional/mental injuries suffered after witnessing a traumatic event can occur at any workplace. Imagine you're working in a warehouse and you see a co-worker injured in a terrible way...that memory could prevent you from doing your job properly for years to come.
In our 30+ years of combined experience, we've seen this happen numerous times...and know full well just how debilitating these injuries can be.
If you've been injured while on the job, or are still suffering from injuries on the job, don't feel alone...know that there is help. Call Eric, Randy, and Sarah at 515-225-4485. We fight for you...we fight for your rights.
Let us sit down with you and go over your claim, and together we can find the proper routes to ensure you receive your full & rightful compensation.