Any line of work can be dangerous. Some careers, though, are more dangerous than others simply because of the nature of the work. Peace officers and public servants, including firefighters, police officers, and anyone else actively involved in law enforcement, are typically at a higher risk for workplace injuries because their work requires them to be in dangerous situations on a regular basis.
As a police officer, you often put the protection and well-being of your community before your own safety when you respond to accidents, engage with violent or armed individuals, and face high-stress situations on a near-daily basis. If you get injured in the line of duty, it is imperative that you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you are owed so that you can heal and, if possible, return to work. The skilled workers’ compensation team at Barry Law Group can help you document everything for your case and fight to ensure you receive all of your benefits.
Nearly every employer across the country is required to have an insurance policy that protects their employees if they are hurt at work. In most circumstances, this is workers’ compensation coverage, though some employers are self-insured. Employees that place products on a conveyor belt every day may develop a shoulder injury from the repetitive motion. Construction workers are at risk of falling from scaffolding and getting seriously injured on a regular basis. A workers’ compensation can pay for physical therapy to help you get back to work after an injury and will often pay up to two-thirds of your salary while you are out of work. Police officers in California are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, but they are structured a little differently.
Police officers put themselves at risk because their work is often very physical and may require them to willingly enter dangerous situations such as shootings. Their proximity to danger often means that police officers run a much higher risk of getting injured while they are working. To account for this, there are a few workers’ compensation benefits that are only available to public service workers like police officers and firefighters.
Working in law enforcement is a dangerous field of work, which can cause a range of injuries. More serious cases, like assaults and altercations with people who are drunk or on drugs, can lead to severe injuries like gunshot wounds. Injuries and illnesses, like hernias or heart problems, can be caused by the stress and strain of the work. Some of the most common injuries that a police officer may experience include:
There are countless injuries that you may face as a police officer, and if the injury is a direct result of your work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In order to receive the benefits you deserve, it is essential that you follow the correct process to file your claim.
If you break your arm because a car chase ends in an accident or develop pneumonia after being exposed to the cold for hours during a shift, you could have a workers’ compensation claim. Fortunately, the process of filing your claim is relatively simple, so you should be able to receive your benefits as quickly as possible. There are three major steps that must be completed for a police officer’s workers’ compensation claim.
Inform Your Supervisor. As soon as you know that you are injured because of your work, whether consistent stress gave you hypertension or you broke your leg during a car accident on duty, your supervisor needs to know. There will likely be a specific procedure to report your injury that is put in place by your department to document your injury. A DWC 1 form is the main thing that you will need to get from a supervisor to move forward with your claim.
Gather Evidence. If you break your foot while you are chasing a suspect during a case, gathering evidence can be simple because you have access to sworn witness statements, camera footage of any injuries, and regular reports of what happens on each shift. For instance, if a civilian saw you get hurt and can give a statement or another officer’s body cam caught what happened, both these can be essential pieces of evidence. Medical reports from a doctor who treated you for a medical condition like hypertension caused by stress at work can also be submitted as evidence to show that your condition is severe enough to keep you from work.
File Your Claim. Once you have completed the paperwork you received from your supervisor and gathered as much evidence as possible, you will give all of the information back to your supervisor. They are responsible for filing your claim with the insurance company so that you can begin receiving the 4850 benefits you need while you are not able to work.
Q: What Type of Injuries Can Police Officers Experience at Work?
A: Working in law enforcement can be a dangerous job because many of your interactions with the public happen while everyone’s emotions are running high. Injuries are more likely to happen when people are angry or upset because it may be more difficult to control an emotional outburst. You could sprain your knee chasing someone who does not want to be arrested. Nearly any interaction with the public has the potential to cause an injury, whether you are hit by a stray bullet during a standoff or develop arthritis from years spent writing reports.
Q: How Do You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim as a Police Officer?
A: When you are injured in the line of duty, filing your claim properly ensures that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to. Inform your supervisor as soon as you realize that you are injured so that they can take the steps to begin the filing process. Gather up the evidence and paperwork you need to file your claim, like witness statements and your DWC 1 form, so your supervisor can submit the claim to the insurance provider.
Q: What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Will You Receive as a Police Officer?
A: Special considerations are made for police officers because their job often involves being in dangerous situations. If you cannot work for several months while recovering from a violent assault, you may be entitled to 4850 benefits, which provide your full pay for up to a year. If you respond to a shooting that results in your death, your family will receive death benefits to cover health insurance, funeral benefits, and survivors’ benefits.
Q: What Evidence Do You Need for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
A: If you are injured while on duty, providing clear evidence will help you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you need because it proves you are not at fault. If you are fighting a suspect and break your hand, body cam footage of the altercation can prove you were acting inside the bounds of your job. Statements from a partner who saw you get injured or the doctor who is treating you during recovery can also be invaluable for your claim.
It is not uncommon for a police officer to step in if they see an argument that is escalating and could turn into a shooting or respond to public need after a tornado hits town. You are much more likely to be stabbed or develop a serious back injury and must file a worker’s compensation claim because of the dangers that you face on a daily basis, especially if you have been an active law enforcement officer for years.
If you are injured on the job and need to miss work, whether you are shot during a chase or develop a heart condition, you deserve to collect the workers’ compensation benefits you are due. An experienced Encino workers’ compensation attorney from Barry Law Group can work with you to ensure you have the evidence you need, your claim is filed within the correct time frame, and you receive your benefits. Contact our office today for any workers’ compensation needs.
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