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Lawmakers weigh workers' comp coverage for PTSD

You are on the front lines. When everyone else goes out, you go in. When everyone else goes down, you go up. When someone is in trouble, you are the first to arrive, willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to protect another life, even if it means placing your own body between someone else and mortal danger.

As a first responder -- police officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or other public safety employee -- you have experienced traumatic events throughout your career. No matter how long you work in the field or how often you respond to an accident, fire, domestic abuse call or other disaster, you do not get used to the often gruesome and tragic things you witness. It takes a toll, and you may be experiencing symptoms for which you wish you could seek help. However, does your workers' comp cover this?

Balancing the budget

First responders commonly struggle with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the danger and high levels of stress they endure on the job. Whether you experience a constant barrage of high-stress situations or you were involved in one incident that changed your life, your PTSD symptoms may be interfering with your ability to function at work or at home.

Advocates for Ohio police and other first responders have fought for years to get PTSD included in the budget for state workers' comp benefits. You may have been among those who had high hopes that this would be the year lawmakers would approve the addition of funds for those who suffer from PTSD. Currently, the law allows insurers to cover symptoms of PTSD directly related to a physical injury on the job. Unfortunately, once again this year, the Ohio budget passed without including PTSD unrelated to a physical injury.

You are not alone

If you suffer from symptoms of PTSD related to an injury you received on the job, you still have a challenge ahead to prove to the insurer that your symptoms qualify you for coverage. An attorney can assist you in building a case for compensation through your employer's insurer.

However, if your PTSD symptoms do not directly relate to a physical injury, you may still have options. For example, your case may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or even a civil action, depending on the circumstances. You do not have to suffer alone. Reaching out for legal advice may be your first step to a brighter future.

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Philip J. Fulton Law OfficeRepresenting Victims Of Workplace Injuries And Disability

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Columbus, OH 43215

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