As of January 1, 2019, a new law has gone into effect that may drastically change the way work-related PTSD claims are handled in Minnesota. For PTSD injuries that occur on or after January 1, 2019, there is now a presumption for first responders that their PTSD is work-related. A first responder’s PTSD still must meet the criteria set forth in the DSM-V and be diagnosed by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.
The workers’ compensation law regarding PTSD in Minnesota is new, complex, and evolving every day. Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. is unmatched when it comes to knowledge of PTSD, and the workers’ compensation laws that apply to the condition, navigating the maze of applying for PERA or MSRS disability benefits based on PTSD, coordinating various sources of benefits, and helping our clients achieve a successful outcome, despite dealing with a very difficult medical condition.
The covered “first responder” positions include licensed police officers, sheriff’s deputy, state trooper, firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical technician, corrections officer and many more.
If you fall under one of these covered positions, and you’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, this presumption will apply if: 1) you were on active duty, 2) you do not have a previous PTSD diagnosis, and 3) your PTSD date of injury was on or after January 1, 2019.
We recognize that the culture within law enforcement often discourages police officers from seeking help for symptoms of PTSD, and despite the law change, insurance companies are still denying PTSD claims. Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. however, has had extraordinary success in establishing entitlement to workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS Duty Disability benefits for first responders suffering from PTSD.
Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. proudly represents Minnesota’s first responders, including police officers, deputy sheriffs, corrections officers, firefighters, paramedics, state troopers, and 911 dispatchers for workers’ compensation, personal injury, PERA/MSRS, and healthcare continuation claims associated with in-the-line of duty injuries. These individuals experience physical and mental injuries as a result of the extreme, disturbing, and traumatic events they encounter when responding to emergency situations. In addition to physical injuries, our state’s first responders are much more at risk for developing mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a disabling mental health condition that occurs as the result of exposure to disturbing or traumatic events – either experiencing the event or witnessing it. Symptoms may include but are not limited to severe depression, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, hypervigilance, and intrusive thoughts about the event.
The onset of post-traumatic stress disorder is unpredictable – it may occur shortly after a first responder’s involvement in a traumatic event, or symptoms may not appear until years after an event. It may occur as the result of exposure to a single event, or it may occur after exposure to hundreds of traumatic events over the course of a first responder’s career. As with any injury, PTSD takes time to heal and requires the help of trained medical professionals who are experts in the field of management of post-traumatic stress disorder.
At Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. we have represented our state’s first responders for claims in conjunction with work-related post-traumatic stress disorder for well over a decade. We have obtained hundreds of awards and settlements on behalf of police officers, corrections officers, and firefighters suffering from work-related PTSD.
PTSD claims are compensable, effective October 1, 2013. Even if the PTSD presumption does not apply to you, your PTSD may be a compensable workers’ compensation injury. On October 1, 2013, the Minnesota Legislature changed workers’ compensation law to allow workers with post-traumatic stress disorder to recover workers’ compensation benefits without an accompanying physical injury.
Minnesota peace officers who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of lawfully causing a death or substantial bodily harm in the line of duty are eligible for benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.475. This change in law allows many more deserving public employees, including police officers, firefighters, corrections officers, and others access to benefits. The benefits include up to a year’s worth of unreimbursed wage loss benefits, and a year’s worth of unreimbursed medical expense benefits for treatment related to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Other types of benefits available to peace officers, firefighters, and correction officers who suffer duty-related PTSD, may include PERA Duty Disability, MSRS Duty Disability, Continuation of Health Insurance Benefits, Third Party Liability Claims, and other Disability Benefits. Read our blog articles related to PTSD and corresponding benefits for more information.
Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A., focuses its practice on handling these specialized cases involving the coordination of workers’ compensation benefits, PERA/MSRS disability pension benefits, and third party liability claims on behalf of injured police officers, firefighters, corrections officers, and EMTs, including those suffering from work-related post-traumatic stress disorder.
The experienced attorneys at Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. understand the complex coordination rules that apply to benefits available to injured police officers, firefighters, corrections officers, and EMTs work to maximize those benefits on behalf of their clients.
Can I receive both PERA or MSRS disability benefits and wage loss benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.475 at the same time?
This is an area that is unsettled under the law; however, it is our opinion that generally, no, you cannot receive both at the same time. We can help you make decisions as to when and how to proceed with claims you may have under Minnesota Statute §299A.475 in conjunction with your disability claims.
How do I apply for this benefit?
Typically, your employer automatically initiates benefits under this statute. Occasionally, an employer is not aware of this statute, and our office can assist you in applying for the benefit.
How do I learn more about my potential PTSD claim under Minnesota Statute §299A.475?
Contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today. At Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A., we have proudly represented hundreds of police officers and firefighters throughout Minnesota for workers’ compensation and disability benefits.