Answer: The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held that the claimant was not entitled to receive workers compensation benefits for post traumatic stress disorder and depression on the basis of an extraordinary event or abnormal working condition. The Court sympathized with the trooper’s situation, but said even the trooper’s mouth to mouth resuscitation of the woman bleeding from the mouth, while an unusual event for an average person, was not extraordinary for a police officer.

The Court pointed out that police work is, by its very nature, highly stressful and a claimant must establish that the incident that caused his mental injury is much more stressful and abnormal than the already highly stressful nature of that position (police work).

The State Trooper had conceded, as part of being a state trooper, that he had been exposed to violent crimes, accidents, and trauma in the past. Further, the trooper agreed that exposure to those types of things comes with the job.

What the Court basically said was that these facts, while highly emotional and stressful, were not so extraordinary as to allow benefits to be paid for the post traumatic stress disorder and depression.

I think this decision really points out the tough job that Judges really have on cases like this. Emotionally and in terms of sympathy, clearly the weight goes to the Trooper and what he experienced. However, the counter view is that the Courts must follow the law and decide the case based on the facts and the law without emotion or sympathy. This is really a tough thing to do.

What do you think about this decision? I want to hear from you.