Comp doesn't cover officer's PTSD after observing fatal shooting
Case name: East Greenbush Police Department, 112 NYWCLR 23 (N.Y.W.C.B. 2012).
Ruling: The New York Workers' Compensation Board denied benefits to a police officer who alleged he developed post-traumatic stress disorder after an armed man shot at him and was then shot to death by another police officer.
What it means: In New York, the stress experienced by a police officer after a shootout is no greater than the stress experienced by similarly situated police officers and is therefore not compensable.
Summary: The board affirmed the workers' compensation law judge's decision denying benefits to a police officer who alleged he developed post-traumatic stress disorder after observing an event in which an armed man shot at him and was then shot to death by another police officer. The officer had to follow the department's procedure and remove the rifle from the deceased man's hands and put handcuffs on him. The board found that the officer's response to the scene of the shooting was part of his job duties, and thus, the resulting violence which he observed did not exceed the normal levels of stress in the work environment of similarly situated officers. The board said that although shootouts are a rare occurrence, it is the duty of all police officers to respond to such events. The stress experienced by the officer was no greater than the stress experienced by similarly situated police officers. Therefore, the officer did not sustain an accidental injury that was covered by workers' compensation.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
May 31, 2012
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