The State of Vermont House of Representatives on April 13 advanced a bill that would make it easier for emergency workers’ compensation claims for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) up to three years after retirement and would also allow all workers in Vermont to file workers’ compensation claims for job-related mental injuries. The bill was shaped by a Vermont fire captain Bradley Reed, who over the years witnessed the trauma that firefighters face on regular basis and the mental health treatment available for them.
The House of Representatives approved the bill in pieces, first with a strong vote on protections for emergency workers with PTSD. The legislation would create a new presumption that PTSD is the result of an emergency worker’s employment unless the employer can demonstrate otherwise. Reed commented, “The legislation, if passed would become the strongest protection in the national for emergency workers with PTSD.” The Senate President Pro Tempore has indicated that the Senate will attach the mental health legislation to another bill so that it could pass this year.
The second section, which specifies the circumstances under which a mental condition can be considered a work-related injury for all Vermont citizens, ran into some resistance in the House. The Representatives worried that municipalities and businesses would see increased workers’ compensation costs, and she wanted to study the costs before taking action. The legislation would allow workers’ compensation if an employee could show that their mental condition resulted from “extraordinary and unusual” work-related stress. The worry stems from how much the bill would impact on property tax, private business, and state budget.
However, both sections were approved, the House advanced the whole bill. Now it is waiting for the Senate call. If passed, Vermont will become the first state in the nation with a law, which creates workers’ compensation rebuttable presumption for mental injuries.
Georgia, as of now, has no such provision. However, if you or a family member has been hurt at work, call Poirier Law today for help and for a free consultation. The Poirier Law Firm routinely, successfully represents injured workers. You must have a zealous advocate fighting and protecting your rights