SC Workers Compensation Bill Would Cover PTSDJanuary 18, 2016
A workers compensation bill proposed in the South Carolina state senate would grant emergency workers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) the ability to file claims under the state’s worker injury insurance program. Both Republican and Democratic senators proposed the workers compensation bill, designated S429, which would update the current worker injury compensation structure specifically for law enforcement officer, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders. However, the bill still faces some opposition in the Senate.
Details of the Workers Compensation Bill
The workers compensation bill would allow first responders who have been diagnosed with PTSD the right to be compensated for their treatment from the current workplace injury insurance policies available to local and state employees. The bill would also include provisions for ordinary on-the-job events that could cause PTSD. While the workers compensation bill allows for treatment from repetitive physical trauma, the senate will consider language allowing for coverage for repetitive mental and emotional trauma.
Sheriff’s Deputy Prompts Workers Compensation Bill
A Charleston County sheriff’s deputy spurred legislators to take on the workers compensation bill after an incident involving a domestic dispute. Deputy Michael Ackerman told reporters about an incident in September 2014 when he and four other deputies were involved in a firefight. Deputy Ackerman sustained a leg wound, while his partner, Deputy Joe Matuskovic, was killed in the line of duty. When he found out that he could not get treatment for the PTSD he suffered after the incident, he prompted state legislators to reform the law with the new workers compensation bill.
Workers Compensation Bill Attempts Reform
The state’s current workers compensation law does not cover PTSD treatment for workers who did not sustain any physical injury. Although Deputy Ackerman was injured, he still needed to retain an attorney to have his mental health treatments covered. The new workers compensation bill would cover workers with PTSD, regardless of the presence of any physical injuries. The workers compensation bill would require that workers pay for the diagnosis themselves, but that the program would compensate them for the out-of-pocket expenses.
Workers Compensation Bill Passes Committee
The workers compensation bill passed a senate subcommittee by a unanimous vote. The bill also passed the full committee before moving on to the floor for a vote of the full senate. However, the workers compensation bill faces opposition from municipal and local government entities. The state’s Association of Municipalities and Counties have cited the increased insurance costs, as well as a lack of clarity on the symptoms of PTSD.
Know Your Rights in a Workers Compensation Lawsuit
To find out how we can help you with a workers compensation lawsuit, contact us today at 877-892-2797. Our friendly staff will ask a few questions about your case and connect you to a workers compensation lawsuit attorney. You can also fill out the “Confidential Evaluation” form at the top of this page.
NOTE: This blog post is a news story and does not constitute and endorsement of the Amaro Law Firm by any parties mentioned herein.