Officer Loses Post-Traumatic Stress Claim

William Biasetti was a police officer with the Stamford, Connecticut Police Department. On May 24, 2005, Biasetti was involved in a high-speed car chase on Interstate 95 during a torrential rainstorm. At the conclusion of the high-speed chase, Biasetti was engaged in a gun battle with the suspects and was in fear of losing his life. During the course of the gun battle, Biasetti injured his right elbow and left knee as he attempted to leap over a guardrail.

As a result of injuries sustained while hurdling the guardrail, Biasetti was diagnosed with a two-percent permanent partial disability to his right upper extremity and a five-percent permanent partial disability to his left lower extremity. Biasetti was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the events of May 24, 2005. When his PTSD claim was denied, Biasetti challenged the denial in the Connecticut Court of Appeals.

The Court found that under Connecticut law, “there must be a causal relationship between the physical injuries Biasetti sustained on May 24, 2005, and his PTSD disorder. We have previously concluded that the relevant statute excludes mental or emotional impairments from the definition of personal injury under the workers’ compensation laws except when such impairments are caused by a physical injury or occupational disease.”

The Court found that Biasetti was unable to meet this test: “Biasetti’s disorder was not caused by his physical injuries. Although Biasetti’s expert originally testified that Biasetti’s injuries and the gun battle were inextricable parts of one event, he later agreed that the true precipitating factor of Biasetti’s disorder was the life-threatening event, not the injuries.”

Biasetti v. City of Stamford, 123 Conn. App. 372 (2010).

This article appears in the November 2010 issue