Workers' Compensation for Public Safety Workers
Public safety workers put their health and well being on the line each and every time they go to work. Firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical service (EMS) providers spend their days and nights coming to the aid of the general public, protecting us against threatening and dangerous events and disasters, both large and small. In the course of saving lives, public service workers risk their own lives, and often suffer serious and even life-threatening injuries as the result. Providing adequate workers’ compensation for public safety workers is one way to ensure that these brave men and women who sacrifice so much get the care they need when they suffer injuries in the course of serving the public good.
Common Types of Injuries Suffered by Public Safety Employees
Public safety employees face injury and fatality rates that are three times higher than workers in other professions. While fatalities among police officers, firefighters, and EMS workers tend to garner more local and national attention, the injuries incurred by these workers can often go unnoticed in the community, and unaccounted for among researchers. A study conducted by the RAND Corporation, a U.S. nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making, set out to characterize the types of injuries suffered by public safety workers in the hopes of increasing overall safety standards in those fields. According to the results of the study, the most common types of injuries for public safety workers include:
- Muscle sprains and strains, particularly back injuries
- Heart attacks and cardiovascular disease
- Injuries due to motor vehicle accidents
In addition to the above, each field carries its own risks and hazards. Among police, there is an increased risk of injuries due to assaults, particularly those involving weapons, such as gunshot or knife wounds. Among firefighter, burn and heat-related injuries were common. For EMS worker, exposure to blood born pathogens can result in exposure to hepatitis, HIV, and other infectious diseases.
Workers’ Compensation Claims for Injured Public Safety Workers
In a study by the National Institute of Health, over 1,800 public safety workers were monitored over a period of 29 months. During the study, these workers suffered over 1,200 injuries that warranted a workers’ compensation claim. The percentage of workers’ compensation claims among public safety workers in the study shows:
- Police officers injuries accounted for 46 percent of claims
- Firefighters injuries accounted for 36 percent of claims
- EMS workers injuries accounted for 18 percent of claims
While injuries warranting a workers’ compensation claims are more common among public safety workers than those in other occupations, their injuries are shown to also be more likely to result in severe and permanent disability.
Our Attorneys Can Help You Today
If you or a loved one is a public safety worker who has been injured on the job, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm today. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys have extensive training in getting injured workers the benefits they deserve. We are grateful for the valuable service performed by our public safety workers and will fight to get them the maximum amount of workers’ compensation benefits they are entitled to by law. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we are prepared to help.