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Wisconsin may recognize PTSD as a workplace hazard

When is an injury related to someone's work? This is easy to judge when someone is hit by a forklift or slips on a run in a carpet at their place of employment, and these injuries are rarely challenged when victims claim workers' compensation. But some people cannot help but bring their work home with them, and that means the danger comes home as well.

Lawmakers in Wisconsin are concerned about the toll that work is taking on the state's first responders. Police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians already bear a lot of weight when it comes to the gravity of their work. Now, studies show that suicide is becoming a higher risk for these people.

Some believe that this heralds a major mental health crisis among some of the most vital staff in the country. Wisconsin's government may now follow several other states in approving better access to mental health services for first responders suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may be a factor in suicide risk.

"If an officer goes and breaks their leg, it's worker's comp and an officer who goes out and shoots someone and they aren't coping well — that is an injury to their brain," said a Wausau police officer.

Victims of workplace injuries, whether they are physical or demonstrably mental, may have a case for financial damages that can help them and their families with recovery. An attorney may be able to help with this move in civil court. Legal representation is very helpful in difficult times, especially when access to the legal system will help improve matters.

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