Common Work Injuries for First Responders
First responders are absolutely essential for public safety. Firefighters, police officers, and paramedics are usually the first on the scene of an emergency. Unfortunately, working in such an important field also has its risks. Work-related injuries are more common in these professions and often can be more severe. This is why workers’ compensation for first responders is so important.
It’s also important to understand the work injuries that can lead to first responders needing workers’ comp.
Those working as first responders are vulnerable to many types of physical injuries. For example, law enforcement officers may be targets of violence. Gunshot wounds can cause long-term health issues that require a police officer to file for workers’ comp benefits. In the worst case, a police officer may be killed in the line of duty. When this type of tragedy occurs, the family members may be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits.
In the case of firefighters, burn injuries are a common risk. While saving others from fires, firefighters may suffer burns of various degrees. Fire departments, like any other employer, should make it easy as possible to apply for workers’ comp benefits. However, it is helpful to have a lawyer on your side in case a workers’ compensation adjuster tries to deny your claim.
Aside from injuries, illnesses are also eligible for workers’ compensation when they result from workplace exposure. For example, firefighters are more likely to develop lung cancer from the smoke they inhale while on the job. They may be able to receive workers’ comp benefits if they can demonstrate that workplace exposure led to the disease. There is currently a precedent for awarding workers’ comp to firefighters who develop cancer.
Mental Health and Trauma
First responders are brave and face dangerous situations on a daily basis. Unfortunately, over time, this can cause mental health conditions including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It’s a common misconception that workman’s’ comp only applies to physical work injuries. California workers’ compensation laws specifically include psychological injuries and illnesses. It is essential that first responders get the benefits they deserve when trauma prevents them from working to their full capacity.
Emergency medical service workers such as emergency medical technicians/EMTs and paramedics face a variety of traumatic situations on a daily basis. Witnessing a patient’s death can take a heavy psychological toll. These workers also arrive on the scene of medical emergencies, which may be violent and disturbing, which may result in mental health conditions.
The same is true for firefighters and police officers. Sadly, these first responders may also fear for their own lives and safety on the job. If a police officer is threatened by a criminal or watches a fellow worker face violence in the line of duty, it can have a lasting effect. Workers’ compensation ensures that first responders get the psychological care they need, as well as coverage for lost wages while they are recovering.
Are You a First Responder Seeking Workers’ Comp?
If you are a first responder who suffered an injury on the job or has developed a physical or psychological condition after working in emergency services, the Law Offices of Bo Katzakian can help. We have worked with numerous first responders to secure their well-deserved workers’ compensation. Call us today at 916.256.4817 for our Sacramento office or 209.273.5773 for our Stockton office. We offer a free consultation to get you started and will fight aggressively for your benefits.