First Responder PTSD Claims in Orange County
Workers’ Compensation for Mental Health Difficulties
Each day, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMT), and other first responders face extreme situations and scenes of violence. Not only is there a high risk of physical injury, but there is an arguably higher chance of suffering a mental health injury like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In recognition of this nonphysical on-the-job danger, California Governor Newsom recently signed SB 542 to make it simpler for first responders to receive workers’ compensation benefits after being diagnosed with PTSD.
To make it even easier to receive necessary workers’ compensation benefits after you have been diagnosed with PTSD as a first responder, you can come to Alvandi Law Group, P.C. in Orange County. Our attorneys have more than 30 years of collective legal experience handling all stages of workers’ compensation claims for our clients. We only accept workers’ comp cases, so we are never distracted by any other case type.
We can assist first responders from all career fields, such as:
- Parole officers
- Police officers
What Does SB 542 Do?
California Senate Bill 542 creates a “rebuttable presumption” that first responders' mental health difficulties are a result of their work duties and should, therefore, be considered a type of workplace injury. In other words, if a first responder is diagnosed with PTSD, then it should be presumed that it developed due to the daily stresses and hardships of their job requirements. A rebuttable presumption means that an insurance company can still challenge a first responder PTSD workers’ compensation claim, but it must take the responsibility of proving that the mental health difficulty was caused by something other than work.
Workers’ compensation benefits that can be given to first responder PTSD claimants include:
- Medical care costs: A first responder who seeks mental health treatments like sessions with a psychotherapist can be reimbursed the full cost of those treatments if the medical provider is in-network, just as would be the case for medical treatments regarding physical injuries.
- Disability indemnity: When a first responder needs to take more than a week off work to seek mental health treatments, which can include bedrest, they can be provided a portion of their average wages during that time.
Symptoms of PTSD
Many police officers, firefighters, and EMTs suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder but do not realize it at first. Training protocols and the nature of the job often expect first responders to set aside their own hardships to protect the well being of others. While this might be admirable, too much stoicism can be detrimental and allow PTSD symptoms to go unchecked, gradually worsening a first responder’s mental health difficulties.
Symptoms of PTSD you should pay attention to:
- Intense anxiety or depression when reminded of a tragic moment
- Specific triggers that can “take you back” to a tragedy or horrific event
- Night terrors related to trauma
- Depression or disassociation
If you are experiencing any symptoms of PTSD, please reach out to your trusted medical provider as soon as you can. An early diagnosis could help mitigate symptoms before the situation worsens.
Value of a PTSD Workers’ Comp Claim
Although there is a rebuttable presumption that your PTSD was caused by your work as a first responder, insurance companies can still be expected to challenge workers’ compensation claims fairly frequently. Instead of trying to fight an insurance representative on your own, allow our Orange County PTSD workers’ comp lawyers to act on your behalf. We know what it takes to deal with stubborn insurance companies and fight for the maximum value of your workers’ compensation claim.
There are many factors to consider when calculating the true value of a PTSD claim settlement. The severity of your PTSD and how much time off work you missed to take care of yourself can affect the value.
Trusted Counsel for OC & L.A. County First Responders
Alvandi Law Group, P.C. is proud to stand with police officers, firefighters, and EMTs throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. If you want to explore your options after suffering PTSD due to your work duties, then we would be honored to hear from you. We can step in and take over your workers’ compensation claim at any stage, whether you are still waiting for an initial response from an insurance company or had your claim denied already.
Dial (800) 980-6905 to discuss your options with our PTSD workers’ comp attorneys today.
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