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.
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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 or
   35  nervous injury arising out of the employment unaccompanied by a
   36  physical injury involving a first responder, only medical
   37  benefits under s. 440.13 shall be payable for the mental or
   38  nervous injury. However, payment of indemnity as provided in s.
   39  440.15 may not be made unless a physical injury arising out of
   40  injury as a first responder accompanies the mental or nervous
   41  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 in This section may not shall be 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 shall not be compensable 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.