Florida Senate - 2017 SB 516 By Senator Perry 8-00199-17 2017516__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to workers’ compensation benefits for 3 first responders; amending s. 112.1815, F.S.; deleting 4 provisions that limit certain workers’ compensation 5 benefits for first responders; amending s. 440.093, 6 F.S.; providing that mental or nervous injuries of law 7 enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical 8 technicians, or paramedics are compensable under the 9 Workers’ Compensation Law under specified conditions; 10 providing an effective date. 11 12 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 13 14 Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section 15 112.1815, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 16 112.1815 Firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical 17 technicians, and law enforcement officers; special provisions 18 for employment-related accidents and injuries.— 19 (2)(a) For the purpose of determining benefits under this 20 section relating to employment-related accidents and injuries of 21 first responders, the following shall apply: 22 1. An injury or disease caused by the exposure to a toxic 23 substance is not an injury by accident arising out of employment 24 unless there is a preponderance of the evidence establishing 25 that exposure to the specific substance involved, at the levels 26 to which the first responder was exposed, can cause the injury 27 or disease sustained by the employee. 28 2. Any adverse result or complication caused by a smallpox 29 vaccination of a first responder is deemed to be an injury by 30 accident arising out of work performed in the course and scope 31 of employment. 32 3. A mental or nervous injury involving a first responder 33 and occurring as a manifestation of a compensable injury must be 34 demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence.
For a mental or35 nervous injury arising out of the employment unaccompanied by a36 physical injury involving a first responder, only medical37 benefits under s. 440.13 shall be payable for the mental or38 nervous injury. However, payment of indemnity as provided in s.39 440.15 may not be made unless a physical injury arising out of40 injury as a first responder accompanies the mental or nervous41 injury.Benefits for a first responder are not subject to any 42 limitation on temporary benefits under s. 440.093 or the 1 43 percent limitation on permanent psychiatric impairment benefits 44 under s. 440.15(3)(c). 45 Section 2. Section 440.093, Florida Statutes, is amended to 46 read: 47 440.093 Mental and nervous injuries.— 48 (1) Except as provided in subsection (4): 49 (a) A mental or nervous injury due to stress, fright, or 50 excitement only is not an injury by accident arising out of the 51 employment. 52 (b) Nothing inThis section may not shallbe construed to 53 allow for the payment of benefits under this chapter for mental 54 or nervous injuries without an accompanying physical injury 55 requiring medical treatment. 56 (c) A physical injury resulting from mental or nervous 57 injuries unaccompanied by physical trauma requiring medical 58 treatment is shallnot becompensable under this chapter. 59 (2) Mental or nervous injuries occurring as a manifestation 60 of an injury compensable under this chapter shall be 61 demonstrated by clear and convincing medical evidence by a 62 licensed psychiatrist meeting criteria established in the most 63 recent edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual of 64 mental disorders published by the American Psychiatric 65 Association. Except as provided in subsection (4), the 66 compensable physical injury must be and remain the major 67 contributing cause of the mental or nervous condition and the 68 compensable physical injury as determined by reasonable medical 69 certainty must be at least 50 percent responsible for the mental 70 or nervous condition as compared to all other contributing 71 causes combined. Compensation is not payable for the mental, 72 psychological, or emotional injury arising out of depression 73 from being out of work or losing employment opportunities, 74 resulting from a preexisting mental, psychological, or emotional 75 condition or due to pain or other subjective complaints that 76 cannot be substantiated by objective, relevant medical findings. 77 (3) Subject to the payment of permanent benefits under s. 78 440.15, in no event shall temporary benefits for a compensable 79 mental or nervous injury be paid for more than 6 months after 80 the date of maximum medical improvement for the injured 81 employee’s physical injury or injuries, which shall be included 82 in the period of 104 weeks as provided in s. 440.15(2) and (4). 83 Mental or nervous injuries are compensable only in accordance 84 with the terms of this section. 85 (4) A mental or nervous injury suffered by a law 86 enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, 87 or paramedic is compensable under this chapter, whether or not 88 the mental or nervous injury is accompanied by physical injury 89 requiring medical treatment, if the mental or nervous injury is 90 demonstrated by clear and convincing medical evidence by a 91 licensed psychiatrist to meet the criteria for posttraumatic 92 stress disorder as described in the most recent edition of the 93 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published 94 by the American Psychiatric Association and if the mental or 95 nervous injury arose out of an activity performed within the 96 course of employment as described in s. 440.091. 97 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.