Florida Senate - 2018 CS for SB 376 By the Committee on Banking and Insurance; and Senators Book, Latvala, Taddeo, and Montford 597-01803-18 2018376c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to workers’ compensation benefits for 3 first responders; amending s. 112.1815, F.S.; revising 4 the evidentiary standard for demonstrating mental and 5 nervous injuries of first responders; deleting certain 6 limitations relating to workers’ compensation benefits 7 for first responders; amending s. 440.093, F.S.; 8 providing that law enforcement officers, firefighters, 9 emergency medical technicians, and paramedics are 10 entitled to benefits under the Workers’ Compensation 11 Law for mental or nervous injuries, regardless of 12 whether such injuries are accompanied by physical 13 injuries requiring medical treatment, under specified 14 circumstances; conforming provisions to changes made 15 by the act; providing an effective date. 16 17 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 18 19 Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section 20 112.1815, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 21 112.1815 Firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical 22 technicians, and law enforcement officers; special provisions 23 for employment-related accidents and injuries.— 24 (2)(a) For the purpose of determining benefits under this 25 section relating to employment-related accidents and injuries of 26 first responders, the following shall apply: 27 1. An injury or disease caused by the exposure to a toxic 28 substance is not an injury by accident arising out of employment 29 unless there is a preponderance of the evidence establishing 30 that exposure to the specific substance involved, at the levels 31 to which the first responder was exposed, can cause the injury 32 or disease sustained by the employee. 33 2. Any adverse result or complication caused by a smallpox 34 vaccination of a first responder is deemed to be an injury by 35 accident arising out of work performed in the course and scope 36 of employment. 37 3. A mental or nervous injury involving a first responder 38 and occurring as a manifestation of a compensable injury must be 39 demonstrated by a preponderance of the
clear and convincing40 evidence. For a mental or nervous injury arising out of the41 employment unaccompanied by a physical injury involving a first42 responder, only medical benefits under s. 440.13 shall be43 payable for the mental or nervous injury. However, payment of44 indemnity as provided in s. 440.15 may not be made unless a45 physical injury arising out of injury as a first responder46 accompanies the mental or nervous injury.Benefits for a first 47 responder are not subject to any limitation on temporary 48 benefits under s. 440.093 or the 1-percent limitation on 49 permanent psychiatric impairment benefits under s. 440.15(3)(c). 50 Section 2. Section 440.093, Florida Statutes, is amended to 51 read: 52 440.093 Mental and nervous injuries.— 53 (1) Except as provided in subsection (4): 54 (a) A mental or nervous injury due to stress, fright, or 55 excitement only is not an injury by accident arising out of the 56 employment. 57 (b) Nothing inThis section may not shallbe construed to 58 allow for the payment of benefits under this chapter for mental 59 or nervous injuries without an accompanying physical injury 60 requiring medical treatment. 61 (c) A physical injury resulting from mental or nervous 62 injuries unaccompanied by physical trauma requiring medical 63 treatment is shallnot becompensable under this chapter. 64 (2) Except as provided in subsection (4), mental or nervous 65 injuries occurring as a manifestation of an injury compensable 66 under this chapter must shallbe demonstrated by clear and 67 convincing medical evidence by a licensed psychiatrist meeting 68 criteria established in the most recent edition of the 69 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published 70 by the American Psychiatric Association. Except as provided in 71 subsection (4), the compensable physical injury must be and 72 remain the major contributing cause of the mental or nervous 73 condition and the compensable physical injury as determined by 74 reasonable medical certainty must be at least 50 percent 75 responsible for the mental or nervous condition as compared to 76 all other contributing causes combined. Compensation is not 77 payable for the mental, psychological, or emotional injury 78 arising out of depression from being out of work or losing 79 employment opportunities, resulting from a preexisting mental, 80 psychological, or emotional condition or due to pain or other 81 subjective complaints that cannot be substantiated by objective, 82 relevant medical findings. 83 (3) Subject to the payment of permanent benefits under s. 84 440.15, in no event shall temporary benefits for a compensable 85 mental or nervous injury be paid for more than 6 months after 86 the date of maximum medical improvement for the injured 87 employee’s physical injury or injuries, which shall be included 88 in the period of 104 weeks as provided in s. 440.15(2) and (4). 89 Mental or nervous injuries are compensable only in accordance 90 with the terms of this section. 91 (4) A law enforcement officer, a firefighter, an emergency 92 medical technician, or a paramedic is entitled to receive 93 benefits under this chapter for a mental or nervous injury, 94 whether or not such injury is accompanied by a physical injury 95 requiring medical treatment, if: 96 (a) The mental or nervous injury resulted while the law 97 enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, 98 or paramedic was acting within the course of his or her 99 employment as described in s. 440.091 and the law enforcement 100 officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic 101 witnessed, or arrived at the scene of, a murder, suicide, fatal 102 injury, child death, or mass casualty incident; and 103 (b) The mental or nervous injury is demonstrated by a 104 preponderance of the evidence by a licensed psychiatrist to meet 105 the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder as described in 106 the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth 107 Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association. 108 Section 3. This act shall take effect October 1, 2018.