A year ago this past June 12, 49 people were killed in a terrorist attack at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Gerry Realin, a police officer, was among the first responders who came to the nightclub. Now, Realin suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and often gets lost in the painful memories of taking care of the dead in the aftermath of the event.

Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan reports that Realin is not alone in his trauma. At least one other officer having responded to the attack is suffering from PTSD. She says many officers saw things inside of the nightclub that soldiers in the military may never experience. “I’ve talked to some of the officers and they’re pretty traumatized by what they saw,” Sheehan said to KNAU. “It was horrible, the sights and the smells, and the thing that really haunts them is the cell phones that were in [the victims’] pockets ringing.”

Experiences like the shooting at Pulse Nightclub may not be common with police officers, but the trauma that coincides with it certainly is. A study conducted in 2012 found that police officers are twice as likely to die by suicide, which may be a result of depression caused by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The numbers of police officers suffering from PTSD, depression, and stress leads to the question of whether or not PTSD may be considered for workers compensation claims.

The gray area of mental illness regarding workers compensation is what is causing the Realins to advocate for a bill in the state of Florida to give first responders with PTSD the benefits other workers comp beneficiaries receive. As of today, workers compensation claims in regards to mental health, especially PTSD, are difficult to argue for in the court of law. Insurance companies can be incredibly skeptical and mental illness can be difficult to prove when the condition is based off depression and anxiety.

Because of the very real possibility of your personal life being dug into at every angle and scrutinized, it’s essential in this case to hire a workers compensation attorney. A workers compensation attorney will be able to assist you in understanding the compensation system of your state and what PTSD claims you are able to legally make. Additionally, a workers compensation attorney will assist you in filing your claim, appeals, and in gathering evidence toward proving your illness by speaking directly with doctors, therapists, and counselors.

The strength of your case is what will determine the outcome of your benefits. Workers comp lawyers may be able to win you permanent benefits and disability. However, because PTSD and other mental disorders as a result of one’s employment may be difficult to prove, it’s also possible you may only receive partial or temporary benefits.

Workers compensation laws, as proven by the Realins’ push for coverage for first responders, are capable of being altered by those they protect. State and federal workers’ compensation laws were able to compensate 125.8 million employees in 2011 alone. Therefore, regardless of the difficulty in proving mental illness in court, it is important that you push for your compensation benefits and rights should you suffer from illness resulting in work injury. Consult a workers compensation attorney today to see where your case stands and how you may benefit from workers compensation.