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PTSD? New Bill Strengthens Police and Firefighters’ Benefits

In June 2019, Governor Sisolak signed into law AB492 which added post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of workers’ compensation benefits police officers and firefighters are entitled to claim. The law also covers police dispatchers, paramedics, and other first responders who experience job-related trauma. This new law provides much needed, and well deserved, coverage to individuals who risk their lives keeping area residents safe from harm.  

Scope of Coverage

The new law allows police officers, firefighters, and other first responders to pursue compensation for stress-related injuries. These include witnessing a crime, responding to a crime scene, assisting accident victims following a motor vehicle collision, etc. Regardless of whether it was one event or a cumulative injury, first responders in Nevada can now recover compensation to cover their cost of care.  

Individuals must provide clear evidence that the mental injury was caused by extreme stresses sustained on the job. Examples include responding to mass casualty situations, attending to survivors of domestic violence, or witnessing the injury or death of a colleague.   

It’s the Right Time to Provide Coverage

Approximately one in every five police officers suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. By comparison, that rate is only 3.5% among the general public. Roughly 10% of firefighters, paramedics, and dispatchers also suffer from PTSD. Nationwide, up to 400,000 first responders deal with PTSD symptoms of varying degrees at any given time.

Typically, first responders who start work at a younger age, are unmarried, or hold a supervisory position are at greatest risk of developing PTSD. However, the disorder can affect anyone, at any time. Providing compensation for mental health care helps remove the social stigma and financial barriers associated with these beneficial treatments.    

The Value of Mental Health Care

Prompt and proper mental health services can help alleviate the long-term consequences that often follow in the wake of traumatic events. The ability to receive compensation to cover psychiatric care, medication, and other therapies to alleviate PTSD symptoms is incalculable. It creates an option for first responders to use to handle and process stress-related injuries. In turn, this allows them to better perform their jobs, and it reduces turnover which helps improve the quality of service provided within the community. It also reduces the expenses associated with recruiting, hiring, and training replacement firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and dispatchers. 

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update

March 18, 2020 Udpate.

We have just been given notice that all Hearings and Appeals have been vacated and are off calendar by order the Senior Appeals Officer from the Nevada Department of Administration. It is unknown when the reset dates will occur.

March 17, 2020 Update.

As efforts concerning the containment of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continue to evolve here in the U.S. and around the world, we want to assure you that Jason D. Mills & Associates remains committed to three important priorities:

Our offices remain open for business; however, we encourage all existing clients to help us limit exposure and the potential spread of COVID-19 by avoiding in-office meetings. We remain open for business virtually during normally scheduled work hours (9:00 am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday). All email, fax, telephone, and other electronic communication will continue without interruption. If you have a scanner please scan documents and send to us in .PDF format. If you do not have a scanner, there are smart phone apps available such as: CamScanner, Adobe Scan and Genius Scan (and many others), that will turn your smart phone into a document scanner at zero or little cost.

Our local courts continue to update and modify their policies and procedures in response to the current COVID-19 situation as well, and we are monitoring those procedures to navigate the impact on your claims. So far, the Hearing and Appeals Office has halted all in-person hearings and is in the process of converting future hearings into telephonic hearings. As we learn more, we will provide updated information.

We also know that many of you have been personally impacted in a number of ways, and we apologize for any inconvenience these modifications may cause you but of course we are all experiencing this disruption together and will get through it together. We will resume normal operations as soon as the local, state and national governments give instructions that it is reasonable to do so. We appreciate your flexibility as we do our part to help bring this unprecedented situation under control.

Again, we are fully operational and are actively working on your claims. If there is anything you need, please feel free to contact our office (telephonically or electronically) during office hours so that we can direct your call and follow up accordingly.