March 8, 2013
Earlier this week, the Connecticut General Assembly agreed to create a fund allowing emergency crewmembers and school staff involved with the Sandy Hook school shooting to receive care for mental health issues arising from the incident.
A story from the Insurance Journal explains the measure was passed after current state law didn't allow employees to collect Connecticut Workers' Compensation benefits for mental trauma that results from work duties. A spokesperson for the American Federation of Teachers, Melodie Peters, said 11 teachers at the school applied for workers' compensation due to mental distress following the incident. All were rejected. Currently, five members of the Newtown Fire Department are on leave until they can overcome the mental trauma they ensued.
The new fund will cover the expenses for these individuals to receive the care they need to deal with the effects of the shooting, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Also, it will allow them to receive counseling to work through the issue. Most recently, teachers from Sandy Hook were connected with teachers from Columbine High School to talk about a similar event they witnessed in 1999.
While several hundred thousand dollars have already been pledged to the fund, lawmakers are considering a bill that would require workers' compensation insurers to cover expenses associated with mental health.
The Connecticut Personal Injury Lawyers with Carter Mario Injury Lawyers applaud the efforts being made by lawmakers to improve workers' compensation benefits.