Skibiel Law

For First Responders, Work Injuries May Go Beyond The Physical

Every workday, first responders put themselves at risk of harm in order to help others. While physical harm is common among these workers, there is also a very real threat of psychological harm from experiencing traumatic events. Unfortunately, the severity of psychological injuries is often minimized and workers who suffer these types of injuries may face challenges getting necessary treatment and benefits.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder From Psychological Injuries

An article from In Public Service observes that first responders, including emergency medical technicians (EMT), paramedics, firefighters and police officers, may experience multiple horrific events during the course of their careers, putting them at greater risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than most other occupations.

Symptoms of PTSD may not be immediately recognized, but can include flashbacks, avoidance of places or other factors that may remind the person of the traumatic event, difficulty sleeping, startling easily and blaming oneself for the event. PTSD symptoms are a normal response to a traumatic event. However, for some people, they may be long-lasting and have a life-changing impact.

While firefighters, police officers and other first responders have the same right to workers' compensation as other workers in the event of an on-the-job injury, they may experience challenges when pursuing claims for PTSD or psychological injuries. Thankfully, Georgia workers' compensation law does provide for many mental injuries, including PTSD, so first responders and other workers who suffer these types of injuries should not hesitate to file a claim.

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