First Responder PTSD Claims in Retirement

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) unfortunately affects many first responders shortly after retirement. Without a job to occupy their time, they suddenly develop the incapacitating mental illness after decades of accumulated pain and stress. Fortunately, first responders in Washington state who have developed PTSD may be able to receive compensation for their afflictions.

If you or a loved one is a first responder in Washington who has developed PTSD after retirement, contact our Washington State PTSD and workers comp attorneys at Colburn Law today to discuss your case. You may be eligible for financial recovery through a worker’s compensation claim.

Why Choose Us?

At Colburn Law, we are leading the charge on behalf of first responders to seek out rightful compensation for any PTSD developed due to your occupation.

  • We have years of experience handling worker’s compensation claims across all occupations. We can use this experience to help first responders receive the recovery they deserve.
  • Our law firm helped facilitate some of the first industrial insurance claims allowed for first responders suffering from PTSD.
  • Founder Greg Colburn has personal experience with workplace injuries, having been wheelchair-bound due to negligence on the job.

We can help you achieve the results you truly need to get the treatment you deserve.

Retirement and PTSD

PTSD is an unfortunate issue among first responders. Approximately 30 percent of all first responders develop some sort of behavioral health issue such as PTSD. This includes:

  • Firefighters
  • Paramedics
  • Law enforcement, including state troopers and other police officers
  • Medical professionals, such as nurses, emergency room techs, and doctors
  • EMTs

While some develop PTSD while on the job, many unfortunately are afflicted with the disorder after they retire from their careers.

  • The transition from a life defined by a career to a quiet life without fulfillment from a job can be incredibly jarring.
  • Any emotional issues that may have developed on the job can no longer be ignored – and during retirement, can often become amplified.
  • The sudden change in routine can cause retirees to self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol to occupy their time – which can exacerbate any issues of PTSD.

According to American Addiction Centers, retired first responders usually have approximately a year-and-a-half to refocus their life and make a healthy transition – before any disorders and mental health issues set in.

Types of PTSD

PTSD is usually triggered by an exposure to some sort of significant stress or trauma in one’s life. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are three types of PTSD that then occur:

  • Re-experiencing. A person unexpectedly relives any previous instances of traumatic events in the form of flashbacks, rapid breathing, sweating, and nightmares.
  • Hyperarousal. This includes severe episodes of extreme emotion, including being incredibly tense, having disproportionately angry responses to normal conversations, and being easily scared and startled.
  • Avoidance. A person mentally shuts down from life for a period of time, shutting themselves out with feelings of guilt and depression, and losing interest in any hobbies.

Someone with PTSD can experience all of these issues and must require regular and steady treatment to get back to a normal life.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

An attorney who is experienced in industrial insurance claims in Washington state is highly recommended for those who have developed PTSD in retirement. The workers compensation system in Washington can be difficult to navigate – especially due to the contentious nature of PTSD as an “injury.” For example, the Industrial Insurance Act has specific provisions for eligibility in regards to PTSD – the cause of the PTSD is important in determining whether or not you can receive compensation for your disorder.

Recently, Washington passed a Senate Bill to offer compensation to first responders who have suffered PTSD due to continuous mental anguish – but that also comes with a number of caveats and requirements.

An attorney experienced in industrial insurance claims and workers compensation can help you navigate these policies during a time when you may not have the mental or emotional clarity to do so, and help you receive the compensation you deserve for your PTSD.

Contact Us Today

If you or a loved one is currently suffering from PTSD after retiring as a first responder, we at Colburn Law want you to know that you are not alone. Contact us today to discuss your case, and let us assist you and give you the help you deserve.

Schedule a free consultation today. We also make house calls and hospital visits if necessary.


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