First Responders with Mental Illness Now Eligible for Workers’ Comp
The Nebraska legislature passed a bill giving first responders access to workers’ comp benefits for mental injuries, but they have to prove certain factors first.
It was in early August when Nebraska lawmakers passed by unanimous voteLB 963, the bill that gives first responders the right to file a workers’ compensation claim for any mental illness sustained on the job. Currently, first responders can only file a claim for workers’ comp if their mental illness is accompanied by a physical injury. Once the bill becomes law, the physical injury component is no longer necessary, but workers suffering from a mental illness still have to prove certain facts of their case.
Who are First Responders?
The public knows first responders as the people who are first to arrive at the scene of an emergency. In Nebraska, first responders are considered anyone who works directly and regularly with individuals who are at a higher risk for mental illness. These workers include emergency medical responders, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and individuals who work for the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services or who are employed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
What Do First Responders Have to Prove?
Workers must always prove certain elements of their case when filing a claim for workers’ compensation, and first responders making a claim based on mental injury or illness are no different. The elements first responders must prove to file a workers’ comp claim include:
- Mental health examination: First responders must receive a mental health examination prior to entering service. The examination provides a baseline measurement for the first responder and shows they did not suffer from a mental injury or illness prior to exposure on the job.
- Mental health professional testimony: A mental health professional must also provide testimony showing that the first responder suffered a mental injury or illness that required medical attention or caused them to miss work.
- Causation: First responders must also prove the mental illness or injury was caused by their working conditions.
- Resilience training: Resilience training focuses on cognitive, emotional, physical, and mental resilience. Receiving this training can help first responders decrease their stress and anxiety and improve their quality of life. First responders wishing to file a claim for workers comp due to a mental illness or injury must prove that they have received annual resilience training.
When first responders can prove all four elements of their claim, they are eligible to receive workers’ comp under the new bill. Additionally, the bill also requires the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to reimburse first responders for the expense of annual resilience training if the worker has not already been reimbursed by their employer.
Our Nebraska Workers’ Comp Lawyers Can Help with Your Claim
The new bill allowing first responders to receive workers’ comp for mental injuries is certainly good news for the heroes Nebraska residents need every day. However, these claims are not easy to file, or get approved. If you are a first responder and need help filing your claim, our Omaha workers’ comp lawyers at Andres Law Offices, PC LLO are here to help. Call us today at (402) 491-4003 so we can get started on your claim.