Gunshot wounds. Injured babies. Heart attack victims. People trapped in mangled cars. Burns. Broken bones. The list of sights and sounds experienced by Columbus emergency responders conjures up images of pain and damage to human bodies. Imagine what it does to the police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who are out there every day trying to help the injured.
A bill before an Ohio Senate panel would allow emergency responders with post-traumatic stress disorder to receive workers’ compensation benefits even if they have not sustained any physical injuries lined to the PTSD.
Under current law, a responder must have suffered an injury that contributed to the PTSD in order to be eligible for workers’ comp. Some of our readers might recall that two years ago, The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that a truck driver who was injured in a traffic accident could not receive workers’ comp benefits because his PTSD was not related to his injuries.
The dump truck driver had seen a vehicle headed toward him and was braced for a serious accident and possibly life-threatening or -ending injuries. Though he fortunately did not sustain physical injuries of that seriousness, he did witness another driver who died in the crash. It was determined that what he witnessed and felt caused his PTSD rather than his relatively minor physical injuries.
However, if the proposed legislation is made law, emergency responders would not have to demonstrate that they sustained causal physical injuries in order to receive workers’ comp benefits for job-related PTSD.
It’s not difficult to imagine that some comp claims might be rejected, even if the proposal becomes law. In those cases, as in all other denied claims, the claimants have a right to appeal the denial with the help of a Columbus attorney.