First responders have some of the most difficult jobs in the nation. Aside from the physical stress of their jobs, first responders are often face-to-face with some of the worst situations imaginable.
When a first responder suffers work-related injuries, workers’ compensation is designed to be a resource that will provide them with injury-related medical care and a steady income until they can return to work. If you’re a first responder, the following are three important things to keep in mind about your right to benefits.
You can get workers’ compensation for PTSD
It used to be much more difficult for first responders to get workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to their on-the-job experiences. In 2022, however, the Iowa Supreme Court said that requiring first responders to prove that their PTSD was the result of “hyper-unexpected” or “hyper-unusual” events beyond what they normally experience as part of their profession was unfair. This creates a much easier path for first responders seeking workers’ comp for mental disabilities caused by their jobs.
Duty belt injuries are more common than you might realize
A duty belt is a belt worn by law enforcement officers, security personnel, and other professionals to carry various tools and equipment necessary for their job. While duty belts are essential for carrying items like firearms, handcuffs, batons, radios, and other tools, they can potentially lead to injuries or discomfort due to the added weight and pressure they place on the body. Some common duty belt injuries or issues include nerve compression in the hips, sciatica, low back injuries and pelvic injuries.
Even volunteer first responders can qualify for workers’ comp
Many rural areas rely on volunteer firefighters or reserve police officers to fill in the gaps in their community needs. Many of these first responders do not realize that they also have coverage under workers’ compensation if they are injured – and they can even qualify for wage replacement benefits despite being unpaid.
If you’re a first responder who has suffered a work-related injury, do not hesitate to seek legal guidance. You may be entitled to considerable compensation as a result of your harm.