04 Apr How Does PTSD Fit in with Arizona’s Workers’ Compensation?
Post-traumatic stress disease (PTSD) is often connected with those who are serving in the military in combat zones, who also see action during their deployment. Many can handle the various scenarios that occur during a full-out firefight, but others may have very troubling experiences, particularly in the aftermath when bodies are lying around. Images can live on longer for these men and women who must see the carnage that war leaves behind.
Yet, others in our daily lives can also experience similar outcomes, whether it be from the peace officers trying to take down shooters who just shot up a nightclub, leaving many dead victims behind, or firefighters trying to save a mother, father, and several young children stuck inside a raging house fire. Sometimes, these brave people may not have the success they hope and work for and such outcomes leave lingering sadness, particularly when friends die as well.
Peace Officers and Firefighters as First Responders
These are the two groups who most often suffer PTSD during real-life situations that they never expected to meet during ordinary duty. Many suffer from recurring nightmares and flashbacks of those scenes and develop irritability symptoms and sessions of anxiety. Depression is also a common occurrence, and these symptoms should never be thought of as signs of weakness in a person.
The emergency medical service (EMS) also deals with health emergencies which can be extreme in levels, such as mass shootings, which sometimes leads to the death of the victim(s) while still in transport to a hospital. This service is also present at any scene where peace officers and firefighters are when dealing with health and safety emergencies. EMS personnel can also suffer the same debilitating symptoms of PTSD that peace officers and firefighters suffer.
Arizona’s HB 2501
This bill passed the House of Representatives in 2018 and has had several revisions, but it deals specifically with giving psychiatric help to those suffering from PTSD related to the jobs of peace officers and firefighters. Section 23-1061 of Arizona’s Revised Statutes in this bill specifically refers to how PTSD treatment will occur, as per the guidelines of Workers’ Compensation (WC) and the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA).
For other workers in Arizona, each case is viewed individually about how the employee claims that he or she is suffering PTSD due to a job-related activity or environment. It is harder for employees at a regular job to make a claim of stress and/or PTSD unless it was an event that was so extreme as to be considered unusual to the normal workplace.
Once such example is for an employee to see another employee killed while running heavy machinery. The result may cause the employee who viewed the accident to be afraid of running that machinery, having the fear that the same thing will happen to him or her.
Acts of assault and violence on the job, including sexual assault, can also fall under PTSD. If you have a claim of PTSD, due to traumatic events that occurred on the job, call us at once for a consultation. 602-346-9009