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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title X
PUBLIC OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AND RECORDS
Chapter 112
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES: GENERAL PROVISIONS
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F.S. 112.1815
112.1815 Firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and law enforcement officers; special provisions for employment-related accidents and injuries.
(1) The term “first responder” as used in this section means a law enforcement officer as defined in s. 943.10, a firefighter as defined in s. 633.102, or an emergency medical technician or paramedic as defined in s. 401.23 employed by state or local government. A volunteer law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical technician or paramedic engaged by the state or a local government is also considered a first responder of the state or local government for purposes of this section.
(2)(a) For the purpose of determining benefits under this section relating to employment-related accidents and injuries of first responders, the following shall apply:
1. An injury or disease caused by the exposure to a toxic substance is not an injury by accident arising out of employment unless there is a preponderance of the evidence establishing that exposure to the specific substance involved, at the levels to which the first responder was exposed, can cause the injury or disease sustained by the employee.
2. Any adverse result or complication caused by a smallpox vaccination of a first responder is deemed to be an injury by accident arising out of work performed in the course and scope of employment.
3. A mental or nervous injury involving a first responder and occurring as a manifestation of a compensable injury must be demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence. For a mental or nervous injury arising out of the employment unaccompanied by a physical injury involving a first responder, only medical benefits under s. 440.13 shall be payable for the mental or nervous injury. However, payment of indemnity as provided in s. 440.15 may not be made unless a physical injury arising out of injury as a first responder accompanies the mental or nervous injury. Benefits for a first responder are not subject to any limitation on temporary benefits under s. 440.093 or the 1-percent limitation on permanent psychiatric impairment benefits under s. 440.15(3)(c).
(b) In cases involving occupational disease, both causation and sufficient exposure to a specific harmful substance shown to be present in the workplace to support causation shall be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.
(3) Permanent total supplemental benefits received by a first responder whose employer does not participate in the social security program shall not terminate after the first responder attains the age of 62.
(4) For the purposes of this section, the term “occupational disease” means only a disease that arises out of employment as a first responder and is due to causes and conditions that are characteristic of and peculiar to a particular trade, occupation, process, or employment and excludes all ordinary diseases of life to which the general public is exposed, unless the incidence of the disease is substantially higher in the particular trade, occupation, process, or employment than for the general public.
(5)(a) For the purposes of this section and chapter 440, and notwithstanding sub-subparagraph (2)(a)3. and ss. 440.093 and 440.151(2), posttraumatic stress disorder, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association, suffered by a first responder is a compensable occupational disease within the meaning of subsection (4) and s. 440.151 if:
1. The posttraumatic stress disorder resulted from the first responder acting within the course of his or her employment as provided in s. 440.091; and
2. The first responder is examined and subsequently diagnosed with such disorder by a licensed psychiatrist who is an authorized treating physician as provided in chapter 440 due to one of the following events:
a. Seeing for oneself a deceased minor;
b. Directly witnessing the death of a minor;
c. Directly witnessing an injury to a minor who subsequently died before or upon arrival at a hospital emergency department;
d. Participating in the physical treatment of an injured minor who subsequently died before or upon arrival at a hospital emergency department;
e. Manually transporting an injured minor who subsequently died before or upon arrival at a hospital emergency department;
f. Seeing for oneself a decedent whose death involved grievous bodily harm of a nature that shocks the conscience;
g. Directly witnessing a death, including suicide, that involved grievous bodily harm of a nature that shocks the conscience;
h. Directly witnessing a homicide regardless of whether the homicide was criminal or excusable, including murder, mass killing as defined in 28 U.S.C. s. 530C, manslaughter, self-defense, misadventure, and negligence;
i. Directly witnessing an injury, including an attempted suicide, to a person who subsequently died before or upon arrival at a hospital emergency department if the person was injured by grievous bodily harm of a nature that shocks the conscience;
j. Participating in the physical treatment of an injury, including an attempted suicide, to a person who subsequently died before or upon arrival at a hospital emergency department if the person was injured by grievous bodily harm of a nature that shocks the conscience; or
k. Manually transporting a person who was injured, including by attempted suicide, and subsequently died before or upon arrival at a hospital emergency department if the person was injured by grievous bodily harm of a nature that shocks the conscience.
(b) Such disorder must be demonstrated by clear and convincing medical evidence.
(c) Benefits for a first responder under this subsection:
1. Do not require a physical injury to the first responder; and
2. Are not subject to:
a. Apportionment due to a preexisting posttraumatic stress disorder;
b. Any limitation on temporary benefits under s. 440.093; or
c. The 1-percent limitation on permanent psychiatric impairment benefits under s. 440.15(3).
(d) The time for notice of injury or death in cases of compensable posttraumatic stress disorder under this subsection is the same as in s. 440.151(6) and is measured from one of the qualifying events listed in subparagraph (a)2. or the manifestation of the disorder, whichever is later. A claim under this subsection must be properly noticed within 52 weeks after the qualifying event.
(e) As used in this subsection, the term:
1. “Directly witnessing” means to see or hear for oneself.
2. “Manually transporting” means to perform physical labor to move the body of a wounded person for his or her safety or medical treatment.
3. “Minor” has the same meaning as in s. 1.01(13).
(f) The Department of Financial Services shall adopt rules specifying injuries qualifying as grievous bodily harm of a nature that shocks the conscience for the purposes of this subsection.
(6) An employing agency of a first responder, including volunteer first responders, must provide educational training related to mental health awareness, prevention, mitigation, and treatment.
History.s. 1, ch. 2007-87; s. 116, ch. 2013-183; s. 1, ch. 2018-124.