Current state laws make it all but impossible for individuals to recover workers' compensation benefits after going through an extremely traumatic incident at work, even after receiving a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis from a medical professional. Case in point is one of the Newtown police officers who was a first responder to the tragedy that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School back in December 2012.
Officer Thomas Bean has not only been unable to return to work since that fateful day, but he has experienced severe depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. He also apparently requires medication to be able to sleep. Despite the fact that Officer Bean has been officially diagnosed with PTSD, he is still ineligible to receive workers' compensation benefits and has only been able to get about half of his base pay through a long-term disability insurance plan with the town. The lack of coverage has led him and his family to have serious financial difficulties and his inability to return to work has put his future as a police officer with the town at risk. If PTSD was one of disabilities or illnesses cover under workers' compensation, Officer Bean would be able to receive closer to 66 percent of his net pay and expanded mental health benefits.
To remedy this situation and help get deserving workers the compensation they deserve after experiencing a serious traumatic event, which can be directly tied to their work or to an event that happened while they were on the job, two independent bills are now being reviewed by state legislators. The 1st bill would allow state and municipal employees, who had been diagnosed with PTSD after witnessing a violent event or having to deal with its aftermath, to claim workers' compensation benefits. The 2nd bill would expand workers' compensation coverage to those who had experienced emotional or mental trauma after witnessing serious injury or death that was intentionally caused to another. Medical diagnosis must be obtained and the violent event must have stemmed from an intentional act, however these bills would allow many individuals to receive the health and financial benefits they deserve under workers' compensation.
Schafer & Schafer, LLP is a Stamford-based law firm that has helped countless individuals recover the workers' compensation benefits they were rightfully owed. We are well aware of the red tape and controversy an employee can often face when pursuing medical assistance and financial remuneration after sustaining a work-related injury or illness. As an employee who has been injured or severely-traumatized as a result of a violent event at work, you have certain rights and you deserve to have an attorney on your side who will help you fight for those rights. You should not have to worry about being terminated from your job and you should not be left struggling to make ends meet, particularly when your injury or the mental trauma you went though was directly related to your job. If you want to find out more about the new laws and how they may affect you or you need help filing a workers' compensation claim, contact our firm and schedule to meet with a Stamford workers' compensation attorney at once.