Florida’s chief financial officer and the Florida Department of Financial Services said in court documents that state laws on work injury compensation allow first responders to receive medical benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder without having a concomitant physical injury.
The CFO and the Financial Services Department recently submitted an amicus curiae instruction to the state’s 1st District Court in support of Roger Williams, a retired Brevard County firefighter whose 2021 PTSD claim was denied.
The Department of Financial Services claims that the state has two separate laws that deal with compensation for PTSD claims, one that allows medical benefits for mental injuries that occur upon employment as a first responder and without an accompanying physical injury and another that allows medical benefits and benefits. for mental injuries. injuries as a result of employment caused by a specific event, such as witnessing a death involving serious bodily injury of a nature that shocks the conscience.
While Williams only sought medical benefits, an administrative court judge erroneously concluded that the section referring to medical benefits and compensation benefits for specific injuries applied to all PTSD claims, according to the amicus letter filed June 16.
In addition, the judge said he would deny the allegation because Williams failed to show his PTSD with clear and convincing evidence. The Department of Financial Services said this was also wrong because the law does not require clear and convincing evidence when a plaintiff only seeks medical benefits for a mental injury.
Legislators created in 2007 statutes that approve the payment of medical benefits for mental injuries that are not accompanied by a physical injury and allow medical benefits and compensation benefits for mental claims accompanied by a physical injury.
After two mass shootings in Florida – the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016 and the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018 – the legislature revised the law that regulates damages to allow them in cases where a first responder does not suffer a physical injury.
The department said that if the decision of the administrative court judge was allowed to stand, it would “essentially eradicate” access to PTSD benefits for first responders.
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