A Florida first responder’s responsibilities include arriving at the scene of horrific accidents and natural disasters. You may often witness firsthand death and grievous bodily harm. Under these circumstances, you could develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
As noted by The Florida Senate website, the Sunshine State considers PTSD an occupational disease. You do not need to have experienced an on-the-job physical injury to apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Your application, however, must include a diagnosis of PTSD made by a licensed psychiatrist who is also an authorized treating physician.
When can I apply for benefits based on PTSD?
You may apply for workers’ compensation within one year of your on-duty involvement in a particularly traumatic event, such as the death of a minor, a homicide or assisting an individual with severe and disturbing bodily injuries. You may also apply within one year of the first onset of symptoms.
How do I know my PTSD requires time off from work?
If intrusive PTSD-fueled memories cause you to freeze, become distracted or prevent you from carrying out your responsibilities effectively, your condition may require professional treatment and time off to recover. You may file a workers’ compensation claim to cover your medical treatment and loss of wages.
What could cause PTSD to develop in a first responder?
According to the Mayo Clinic, PTSD is a condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Assisting severely injured or dying individuals under what may be adverse conditions carries the potential to experience frequent occurrences of such events. Your basic temperament, previous life experiences or the way your body regulates stress hormones can also contribute to your developing PTSD.