Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 126
       By Senator Torres
       15-00224-18                                            2018126__
    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 must be
    5         demonstrated for purposes of determining eligibility
    6         for benefits for employment-related accidents and
    7         injuries; removing the limitation that only medical
    8         benefits are payable for a mental or nervous injury
    9         unaccompanied by a physical injury; revising
   10         eligibility for certain payments provided under the
   11         Workers’ Compensation Law; providing that the act
   12         fulfills an important state interest; providing an
   13         effective date.
   15  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   17         Section 1. Subsection (2) of section 112.1815, Florida
   18  Statutes, is amended to read:
   19         112.1815 Firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical
   20  technicians, and law enforcement officers; special provisions
   21  for employment-related accidents and injuries.—
   22         (2)(a) For the purpose of determining benefits under this
   23  section relating to employment-related accidents and injuries of
   24  first responders, the following shall apply:
   25         1. An injury or disease caused by the exposure to a toxic
   26  substance is not an injury by accident arising out of employment
   27  unless there is a preponderance of the evidence establishing
   28  that exposure to the specific substance involved, at the levels
   29  to which the first responder was exposed, can cause the injury
   30  or disease sustained by the employee.
   31         2. Any adverse result or complication caused by a smallpox
   32  vaccination of a first responder is deemed to be an injury by
   33  accident arising out of work performed in the course and scope
   34  of employment.
   35         3. A mental or nervous injury involving a first responder
   36  and occurring as a manifestation of a compensable injury must be
   37  demonstrated by a preponderance of the clear and convincing
   38  evidence. For a mental or nervous injury arising out of the
   39  employment unaccompanied by a physical injury involving a first
   40  responder, only medical benefits under s. 440.13 shall be
   41  payable for the mental or nervous injury. If a mental or nervous
   42  injury results in disability or death of a first responder
   43  However, payment of indemnity as provided in s. 440.15 or s.
   44  440.16 may be due even if no physical injury occurred may not be
   45  made unless a physical injury arising out of injury as a first
   46  responder accompanies the mental or nervous injury. Benefits for
   47  a first responder are not subject to any limitation on temporary
   48  benefits under s. 440.093 or the 1-percent limitation on
   49  permanent psychiatric impairment benefits under s. 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. The Legislature finds that this act fulfills an
   55  important state interest relating to the public interest for the
   56  prompt and adequate provision of workers’ compensation benefits
   57  to first responders employed by state or local government.
   58         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.