Florida Senate - 2018 SB 376 By Senator Book 32-00051A-18 2018376__ 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 certain limitations relating to workers’ compensation 5 benefits for first responders; amending s. 440.093, 6 F.S.; providing that law enforcement officers, 7 firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and 8 paramedics are entitled to benefits under the Workers’ 9 Compensation Law for mental or nervous injuries, 10 whether or not such injuries are accompanied by 11 physical injuries requiring medical treatment, under 12 specified circumstances; providing an effective date. 13 14 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 15 16 Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section 17 112.1815, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 18 112.1815 Firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical 19 technicians, and law enforcement officers; special provisions 20 for employment-related accidents and injuries.— 21 (2)(a) For the purpose of determining benefits under this 22 section relating to employment-related accidents and injuries of 23 first responders, the following shall apply: 24 1. An injury or disease caused by the exposure to a toxic 25 substance is not an injury by accident arising out of employment 26 unless there is a preponderance of the evidence establishing 27 that exposure to the specific substance involved, at the levels 28 to which the first responder was exposed, can cause the injury 29 or disease sustained by the employee. 30 2. Any adverse result or complication caused by a smallpox 31 vaccination of a first responder is deemed to be an injury by 32 accident arising out of work performed in the course and scope 33 of employment. 34 3. A mental or nervous injury involving a first responder 35 and occurring as a manifestation of a compensable injury must be 36 demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence.
For a mental or37 nervous injury arising out of the employment unaccompanied by a38 physical injury involving a first responder, only medical39 benefits under s. 440.13 shall be payable for the mental or40 nervous injury. However, payment of indemnity as provided in s.41 440.15 may not be made unless a physical injury arising out of42 injury as a first responder accompanies the mental or nervous43 injury.Benefits for a first responder are not subject to any 44 limitation on temporary benefits under s. 440.093 or the 1 45 percent limitation on permanent psychiatric impairment benefits 46 under s. 440.15(3)(c). 47 Section 2. Section 440.093, Florida Statutes, is amended to 48 read: 49 440.093 Mental and nervous injuries.— 50 (1) Except as provided in subsection (4): 51 (a) A mental or nervous injury due to stress, fright, or 52 excitement only is not an injury by accident arising out of the 53 employment. 54 (b) Nothing inThis section may not shallbe construed to 55 allow for the payment of benefits under this chapter for mental 56 or nervous injuries without an accompanying physical injury 57 requiring medical treatment. 58 (c) A physical injury resulting from mental or nervous 59 injuries unaccompanied by physical trauma requiring medical 60 treatment is shallnot becompensable under this chapter. 61 (2) Mental or nervous injuries occurring as a manifestation 62 of an injury compensable under this chapter shall be 63 demonstrated by clear and convincing medical evidence by a 64 licensed psychiatrist meeting criteria established in the most 65 recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of 66 Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric 67 Association. Except as provided in subsection (4), the 68 compensable physical injury must be and remain the major 69 contributing cause of the mental or nervous condition and the 70 compensable physical injury as determined by reasonable medical 71 certainty must be at least 50 percent responsible for the mental 72 or nervous condition as compared to all other contributing 73 causes combined. Compensation is not payable for the mental, 74 psychological, or emotional injury arising out of depression 75 from being out of work or losing employment opportunities, 76 resulting from a preexisting mental, psychological, or emotional 77 condition or due to pain or other subjective complaints that 78 cannot be substantiated by objective, relevant medical findings. 79 (3) Subject to the payment of permanent benefits under s. 80 440.15, in no event shall temporary benefits for a compensable 81 mental or nervous injury be paid for more than 6 months after 82 the date of maximum medical improvement for the injured 83 employee’s physical injury or injuries, which shall be included 84 in the period of 104 weeks as provided in s. 440.15(2) and (4). 85 Mental or nervous injuries are compensable only in accordance 86 with the terms of this section. 87 (4) A law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency 88 medical technician, or paramedic is entitled to receive benefits 89 under this chapter for a mental or nervous injury, whether or 90 not such injury is accompanied by a physical injury requiring 91 medical treatment, if: 92 (a) The mental or nervous injury resulted while the law 93 enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, 94 or paramedic was acting within the course of his or her 95 employment as described in s. 440.091 and the law enforcement 96 officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic 97 witnessed a murder, suicide, fatal injury, or child death or 98 arrived on a scene where mass casualties were suffered; 99 (b) The law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency 100 medical technician, or paramedic begins mental health treatment 101 within 15 days after the incident in paragraph (a) giving rise 102 to the mental or nervous injury that occurred; and 103 (c) The mental or nervous injury is demonstrated by clear 104 and convincing medical evidence by a licensed psychiatrist to 105 meet the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder as described 106 in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical 107 Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric 108 Association. 109 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.