Four states in the first week of February introduced or moved forward on workers compensation presumption bills that would make post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental ailments compensable for first responders, in a continuation of a years-long legislative trend.
According to a 2021 paper by service provider Optum Workers’ Comp and Auto No-Fault, more than 50% of states have enacted PTSD policies or policy changes since 2018.
Many new laws passed in recent years have followed major emergencies and tragedies that triggered legislatures to act. The COVID-19 pandemic is shaping up to be no different.
‘With COVID, people are more amenable to the idea that mental injuries are a problem than (they have been) in the past,’ said Tom Howard, an attorney at workers compensation firm Gerber & Holder LLP in Atlanta.
Opponents of such legislation have claimed that the presumptions are or could be costly, with virtually every first responder representing a potential claim.