Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 376
       By Senator Book
       32-00051A-18                                           2018376__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to workers’ compensation benefits for
    3         first responders; amending s. 112.1815, F.S.; deleting
    4         certain limitations relating to workers’ compensation
    5         benefits for first responders; amending s. 440.093,
    6         F.S.; providing that law enforcement officers,
    7         firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and
    8         paramedics are entitled to benefits under the Workers’
    9         Compensation Law for mental or nervous injuries,
   10         whether or not such injuries are accompanied by
   11         physical injuries requiring medical treatment, under
   12         specified circumstances; providing an effective date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
   17  112.1815, Florida 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 clear and convincing evidence. For a mental or
   37  nervous injury arising out of the employment unaccompanied by a
   38  physical injury involving a first responder, only medical
   39  benefits under s. 440.13 shall be payable for the mental or
   40  nervous injury. However, payment of indemnity as provided in s.
   41  440.15 may not be made unless a physical injury arising out of
   42  injury as a first responder accompanies the mental or nervous
   43  injury. Benefits for a first responder are not subject to any
   44  limitation on temporary benefits under s. 440.093 or the 1
   45  percent limitation on permanent psychiatric impairment benefits
   46  under s. 440.15(3)(c).
   47         Section 2. Section 440.093, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   48  read:
   49         440.093 Mental and nervous injuries.—
   50         (1) Except as provided in subsection (4):
   51         (a) A mental or nervous injury due to stress, fright, or
   52  excitement only is not an injury by accident arising out of the
   53  employment.
   54         (b)Nothing in This section may not shall be construed to
   55  allow for the payment of benefits under this chapter for mental
   56  or nervous injuries without an accompanying physical injury
   57  requiring medical treatment.
   58         (c) A physical injury resulting from mental or nervous
   59  injuries unaccompanied by physical trauma requiring medical
   60  treatment is shall not be compensable under this chapter.
   61         (2) Mental or nervous injuries occurring as a manifestation
   62  of an injury compensable under this chapter shall be
   63  demonstrated by clear and convincing medical evidence by a
   64  licensed psychiatrist meeting criteria established in the most
   65  recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
   66  Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric
   67  Association. Except as provided in subsection (4), the
   68  compensable physical injury must be and remain the major
   69  contributing cause of the mental or nervous condition and the
   70  compensable physical injury as determined by reasonable medical
   71  certainty must be at least 50 percent responsible for the mental
   72  or nervous condition as compared to all other contributing
   73  causes combined. Compensation is not payable for the mental,
   74  psychological, or emotional injury arising out of depression
   75  from being out of work or losing employment opportunities,
   76  resulting from a preexisting mental, psychological, or emotional
   77  condition or due to pain or other subjective complaints that
   78  cannot be substantiated by objective, relevant medical findings.
   79         (3) Subject to the payment of permanent benefits under s.
   80  440.15, in no event shall temporary benefits for a compensable
   81  mental or nervous injury be paid for more than 6 months after
   82  the date of maximum medical improvement for the injured
   83  employee’s physical injury or injuries, which shall be included
   84  in the period of 104 weeks as provided in s. 440.15(2) and (4).
   85  Mental or nervous injuries are compensable only in accordance
   86  with the terms of this section.
   87         (4)A law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency
   88  medical technician, or paramedic is entitled to receive benefits
   89  under this chapter for a mental or nervous injury, whether or
   90  not such injury is accompanied by a physical injury requiring
   91  medical treatment, if:
   92         (a)The mental or nervous injury resulted while the law
   93  enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician,
   94  or paramedic was acting within the course of his or her
   95  employment as described in s. 440.091 and the law enforcement
   96  officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic
   97  witnessed a murder, suicide, fatal injury, or child death or
   98  arrived on a scene where mass casualties were suffered;
   99         (b) The law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency
  100  medical technician, or paramedic begins mental health treatment
  101  within 15 days after the incident in paragraph (a) giving rise
  102  to the mental or nervous injury that occurred; and
  103         (c)The mental or nervous injury is demonstrated by clear
  104  and convincing medical evidence by a licensed psychiatrist to
  105  meet the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder as described
  106  in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical
  107  Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric
  108  Association.
  109         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.