Firefighters, police officers, paramedics and other first responders put their lives on the line and work hard daily to ensure that we can live in a safe and peaceful society. These kinds of jobs also often come with an increased likelihood of severe injury, due to their dangerous nature. This is why the Florida legislature has taken steps to make things easier for first responders who wish to avail themselves of the workers’ compensation program for their injuries.
Lowered burdens of proof
Typically, a worker who applies for workers’ compensation benefits due to an injury has the responsibility to prove that their injury was the result of their work environment. Workers’ compensation benefits only cover injures that arise due to a person’s work duties, not to injuries that may have occurred outside of work.
But first responders can sometimes benefit from a lowered requirement of proof. For example, if you are a firefighter, law enforcement officer or correctional officer, and you suffer from tuberculosis, heart disease, or hypertension, Florida law directs courts to assume that the injury was the result of your job duties. If your employer or their insurance company wanted to challenge that presumption, they would have to show solid proof that something else caused your condition.
Coverage of PTSD as an injury
Another fantastic benefit that first responders in Florida get is the ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits for job-induced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As long as your PTSD arose from your work duties or environment, and as long as a trained professional diagnoses your condition, you can apply for benefits under workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation benefits serve an important function, because they provide you with the support that you need while you recover from your condition. Do not hesitate to take advantage of the program so that you can focus on getting better and getting back to work after your injury.