New Law Allows Workers’ Comp For First Responders with PTSD

Ohio’s first responders are finally able to file for workers’ compensation for their post-traumatic stress disorder. This change was a long time coming and took several attempts by lawmakers.

According to a survey of around 4,000 individuals, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services states that 37% of first responders have contemplated suicide, and approximately 7% have tried to take their own lives.

Filing for workers’ compensation for your PTSD can be challenging, but it is possible, thanks to House Bill 308. Read more to learn about the benefits this bill offers.


When House Bill 308 was signed into law on January 9, 2021, Gov. Mike DeWine finally took action and created a fund for first responders who developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the work they perform in their service to the community.

HB 308 will protect the workers’ compensation fund, which was designed to offer workers’ compensation benefits to individuals dealing with work-related injuries for decades while still addressing the mental health and medical needs of first responders who have previously struggled to cope with the often traumatic experiences of their profession.

HB 308 took effect on April 12, 2021. It covers a wide array of first responders, including:

  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Police officers
  • Firefighters
  • Paramedics
  • Correctional officers
  • Emergency medical dispatchers

Ohio workers’ compensation laws traditionally exclude mental health conditions unless workers can prove that their post-traumatic stress disorder was brought on by a physical injury they sustained on the job. However, since first responders are in a unique position, HB 308 allows them to collect workers’ compensation benefits without providing proof of a physical injury.

The first responder’s workers’ compensation program is funded by public employers that employ first responders. Private companies are not required to pay into the PTSD fund for first responders. Instead, public employers are required to pay premiums that will fund these benefits.

If you have additional questions about how HB 308 works or are interested in determining whether you meet the eligibility requirements for first responders’ workers’ compensation benefits, do not hesitate to contact our dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at our firm to discuss your legal options further.

Previous Attempts to Extend Workers’ Comp Failed

Before HB 308, HB 80 included provisions to extend workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD-stricken first responders. The provisions were written in response to first-hand experiences of first responders and their trauma.

Trevor Murphy’s mother testified before Ohio’s House Finance Committee. She shared Murphy’s story. He was a firefighter with the Orange Township Fire Department in Delaware.

“A little girl died in my son’s arms, and he struggled very badly with that. His last call was for a man trapped in a car with gasoline pouring on both of them, When he was able to release the gentleman from the seat belt, he fell dead in his arms, and that devastated my son. It completely broke him.”

Murphy succumbed to his PTSD, dying of suicide. His family argues his death could have been avoided if he had been able to get help for his medical condition through the workers’ compensation system.

The promise of HB 80 to prevent further tragedies propelled the law through the House Finance and Rules committees. But the bill only passed a Senate vote after significant amendments that effectively removed PTSD coverage from workers’ compensation.


The resistance to the PTSD amendment came primarily from the Ohio business community. Organizations like the Ohio Manufacturers Association and the National Federation of Independent Business Association lobbied against expanding workers’ compensation to include PTSD.

They argued that the expansion would cost money and increase bureaucracy, all while paving the way for false claims from first responders who’ve had a stressful day on the job. Since PTSD cannot be confirmed as quickly as physical injuries, they argue that the state will spend too much time and money verifying this type of workers’ compensation claim.

Because of the difficulties in passing HB 80 with the PTSD amendments, the Ohio legislature had to pass an emergency bill to fund the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) while negotiations continued.

Why Should I Consider Hiring a Lawyer for My Workers’ Compensation Claims?

Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to help laborers hurt while on the job or during the course of their employment. While traditional claims often happen after a physical injury, first responders’ deal with traumatic events during their shifts. Proving those claims can be challenging.

If your claim is denied, you can appeal it. You’re working to show that your work helping the public has had a devastating effect on your physical or mental health. For instance, if you are experiencing depression because of your job, you’ll need the evidence to show that change and impact on your day-to-day life and relations. Your claim could become complicated with legal questions. A seasoned workers’ compensation attorney can help you work towards a successful claim.


The workers’ compensation process does not always go smoothly and results in a fair outcome. At Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA, we aim to ensure everyone gets the compensation they deserve from the BWC.

If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, our Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialists, Adrienne Hines and Victor Kademenos, can help. Contact us today at (419) 625-7770 to schedule a free consultation about your case.