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Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C.
Helping Injured Workers In Arizona Since 1973

Police groups push for trauma coverage in workers' compensation

Stated generally, Arizona's workers' compensation system is designed to help workers cope with the expenses that come up after they are injured on the job or suffer from occupational diseases. However, stating things generally doesn't always help in workers' compensation issues: Things must be stated very specifically to fit specific categories. The benefits workers may receive come in predetermined amounts according to predetermined categories of injuries and illnesses.

In recent years, police unions have been fighting to expand workers' compensation benefits to cover post traumatic stress disorder. While the debate over the benefits is often tied in with high-profile mass shootings, some advocates for police officers say PTSD is actually widespread among police officers.

Officers who have spoken about experiencing PTSD say that their exposure to violence on the job creates anxiety and depression that make it difficult or impossible to return to work. However, since PTSD is not covered by their benefits, they may be left without compensation.

Police unions have helped get the legislatures of some states to consider adding PTSD to workers' compensation benefits, but none of these measures have become law.

Workers' compensation is designed to streamline the process by which injured workers could get compensated for medical expenses and lost wages after being injured or sickened on the job. However, one of the tradeoffs involved with making compensation faster is the categorization of injuries and illnesses that can be covered. Workers whose injuries or illnesses don't quite fit the categories sometimes find themselves in a tight spot.

When everything works as it should in the workers' compensation system, injured workers get the benefits they need without too much trouble. However, things often don't work so smoothly. Arizona workers' compensation attorneys can help injured workers to stand up for their rights and get the benefits they deserve.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, "After mass shootings, cities resist police unions' push for medical coverage of officers' PTSD," Sadie Gurman, May 16, 2014

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