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Lawmakers aim to add ‘shock’ as compensable psych injury

Lawmakers aim to add ‘shock’ as compensable psych injury

Lawmakers in Virginia on Wednesday read through a proposal that would reform workers compensation law when it comes to psychological injuries.

H.B. 1596 would clear red tape for a compensable injury for “an employee who suffers a psychological injury from sudden shock and fright that arises out of and in the course of any employment,” according to a draft of the bill.

The psychological injury under workers compensation would be compensable “regardless of whether the incident that caused the sudden shock and fright is either a normal or expected part of the employee's work,” according to the bill.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is covered under workers compensation, under Virginia law, but legal experts have long argued such cases are difficult to prove and are often litigated.

The new legislation, which could apply to first responders, follows a bill introduced last year that would have made PTSD compensable for first responders under presumption. That bill failed, according to the legislative digest.