Florida Senate - 2017                                    SB 1088
       By Senator Torres
       15-01326-17                                           20171088__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to workers’ compensation for first
    3         responders; amending s. 112.1815, F.S.; revising the
    4         standard by which a mental or nervous injury involving
    5         a first responder must be demonstrated for purposes of
    6         determining eligibility for benefits for employment
    7         related accidents and injuries; removing the
    8         limitation that only medical benefits are payable for
    9         a mental or nervous injury unaccompanied by a physical
   10         injury; revising eligibility for certain payments
   11         provided under the Workers’ Compensation Law;
   12         providing an effective date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. Subsection (2) of section 112.1815, Florida
   17  Statutes, is amended to read:
   18         112.1815 Firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical
   19  technicians, and law enforcement officers; special provisions
   20  for employment-related accidents and injuries.—
   21         (2)(a) For the purpose of determining benefits under this
   22  section relating to employment-related accidents and injuries of
   23  first responders, the following shall apply:
   24         1. An injury or disease caused by the exposure to a toxic
   25  substance is not an injury by accident arising out of employment
   26  unless there is a preponderance of the evidence establishing
   27  that exposure to the specific substance involved, at the levels
   28  to which the first responder was exposed, can cause the injury
   29  or disease sustained by the employee.
   30         2. Any adverse result or complication caused by a smallpox
   31  vaccination of a first responder is deemed to be an injury by
   32  accident arising out of work performed in the course and scope
   33  of employment.
   34         3. A mental or nervous injury involving a first responder
   35  and occurring as a manifestation of a compensable injury must be
   36  demonstrated by a preponderance of the clear and convincing
   37  evidence. For a mental or nervous injury arising out of the
   38  employment unaccompanied by a physical injury involving a first
   39  responder, only medical benefits under s. 440.13 shall be
   40  payable for the mental or nervous injury. If the mental or
   41  nervous injury results in disability or death of a first
   42  responder However, payment of indemnity as provided in s. 440.15
   43  or s. 440.16 may be due even if no physical injury occurred may
   44  not be made unless a physical injury arising out of injury as a
   45  first responder accompanies the mental or nervous injury.
   46  Benefits for a first responder are not subject to any limitation
   47  on temporary benefits under s. 440.093 or the 1-percent
   48  limitation on permanent psychiatric impairment benefits under s.
   49  440.15(3)(c).
   50         (b) In cases involving occupational disease, both causation
   51  and sufficient exposure to a specific harmful substance shown to
   52  be present in the workplace to support causation shall be proven
   53  by a preponderance of the evidence.
   54         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.