Florida Senate - 2018                              CS for SB 376
       By the Committee on Banking and Insurance; and Senators Book,
       Latvala, Taddeo, and Montford
       597-01803-18                                           2018376c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to workers’ compensation benefits for
    3         first responders; amending s. 112.1815, F.S.; revising
    4         the evidentiary standard for demonstrating mental and
    5         nervous injuries of first responders; deleting certain
    6         limitations relating to workers’ compensation benefits
    7         for first responders; amending s. 440.093, F.S.;
    8         providing that law enforcement officers, firefighters,
    9         emergency medical technicians, and paramedics are
   10         entitled to benefits under the Workers’ Compensation
   11         Law for mental or nervous injuries, regardless of
   12         whether such injuries are accompanied by physical
   13         injuries requiring medical treatment, under specified
   14         circumstances; conforming provisions to changes made
   15         by the act; providing an effective date.
   17  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   19         Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
   20  112.1815, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   21         112.1815 Firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical
   22  technicians, and law enforcement officers; special provisions
   23  for employment-related accidents and injuries.—
   24         (2)(a) For the purpose of determining benefits under this
   25  section relating to employment-related accidents and injuries of
   26  first responders, the following shall apply:
   27         1. An injury or disease caused by the exposure to a toxic
   28  substance is not an injury by accident arising out of employment
   29  unless there is a preponderance of the evidence establishing
   30  that exposure to the specific substance involved, at the levels
   31  to which the first responder was exposed, can cause the injury
   32  or disease sustained by the employee.
   33         2. Any adverse result or complication caused by a smallpox
   34  vaccination of a first responder is deemed to be an injury by
   35  accident arising out of work performed in the course and scope
   36  of employment.
   37         3. A mental or nervous injury involving a first responder
   38  and occurring as a manifestation of a compensable injury must be
   39  demonstrated by a preponderance of the clear and convincing
   40  evidence. For a mental or nervous injury arising out of the
   41  employment unaccompanied by a physical injury involving a first
   42  responder, only medical benefits under s. 440.13 shall be
   43  payable for the mental or nervous injury. However, payment of
   44  indemnity as provided in s. 440.15 may not be made unless a
   45  physical injury arising out of injury as a first responder
   46  accompanies the mental or nervous injury. Benefits for a first
   47  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         Section 2. Section 440.093, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   51  read:
   52         440.093 Mental and nervous injuries.—
   53         (1) Except as provided in subsection (4):
   54         (a) A mental or nervous injury due to stress, fright, or
   55  excitement only is not an injury by accident arising out of the
   56  employment.
   57         (b)Nothing in This section may not shall be construed to
   58  allow for the payment of benefits under this chapter for mental
   59  or nervous injuries without an accompanying physical injury
   60  requiring medical treatment.
   61         (c) A physical injury resulting from mental or nervous
   62  injuries unaccompanied by physical trauma requiring medical
   63  treatment is shall not be compensable under this chapter.
   64         (2) Except as provided in subsection (4), mental or nervous
   65  injuries occurring as a manifestation of an injury compensable
   66  under this chapter must shall be demonstrated by clear and
   67  convincing medical evidence by a licensed psychiatrist meeting
   68  criteria established in the most recent edition of the
   69  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published
   70  by the American Psychiatric Association. Except as provided in
   71  subsection (4), the compensable physical injury must be and
   72  remain the major contributing cause of the mental or nervous
   73  condition and the compensable physical injury as determined by
   74  reasonable medical certainty must be at least 50 percent
   75  responsible for the mental or nervous condition as compared to
   76  all other contributing causes combined. Compensation is not
   77  payable for the mental, psychological, or emotional injury
   78  arising out of depression from being out of work or losing
   79  employment opportunities, resulting from a preexisting mental,
   80  psychological, or emotional condition or due to pain or other
   81  subjective complaints that cannot be substantiated by objective,
   82  relevant medical findings.
   83         (3) Subject to the payment of permanent benefits under s.
   84  440.15, in no event shall temporary benefits for a compensable
   85  mental or nervous injury be paid for more than 6 months after
   86  the date of maximum medical improvement for the injured
   87  employee’s physical injury or injuries, which shall be included
   88  in the period of 104 weeks as provided in s. 440.15(2) and (4).
   89  Mental or nervous injuries are compensable only in accordance
   90  with the terms of this section.
   91         (4)A law enforcement officer, a firefighter, an emergency
   92  medical technician, or a paramedic is entitled to receive
   93  benefits under this chapter for a mental or nervous injury,
   94  whether or not such injury is accompanied by a physical injury
   95  requiring medical treatment, if:
   96         (a)The mental or nervous injury resulted while the law
   97  enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician,
   98  or paramedic was acting within the course of his or her
   99  employment as described in s. 440.091 and the law enforcement
  100  officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic
  101  witnessed, or arrived at the scene of, a murder, suicide, fatal
  102  injury, child death, or mass casualty incident; and
  103         (b)The mental or nervous injury is demonstrated by a
  104  preponderance of the evidence by a licensed psychiatrist to meet
  105  the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder as described in
  106  the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth
  107  Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association.
  108         Section 3. This act shall take effect October 1, 2018.