Workers' compensation covers stress, fatigue in police officers

Police officers in California risk their lives every day to keep others safe. Their jobs are demanding, and along with the injury risks they face, a host of illnesses and diseases can be linked to the circumstances under which they work. This is recognized by the state-regulated workers' compensation system, which presumes that certain conditions that are typical in police officers are work-related.

Safety authorities say of all the hazards police officers face, stress and shift work are the two aspects that cause long-term health problems. These workers typically work shifts -- either permanently or on rotation. The body has a natural rhythm that requires sleep at night and being awake during the daytime, and forcing the opposite could cause fatigue. Their jobs require alertness and the ability to make split-second decisions, both of which are compromised by fatigue.

Law enforcement must meet high demands, and they face psychological and physical stress every day. The fact that they never know what the next call will entail is stressful on its own, and then they typically have to deal with unpleasant situations. Scenes of dismemberment and death, aggressive subjects and grieving loved ones are par for the course for many police officers.

The combination of fatigue and stress has been found to lead to a variety of health problems. However, the presumptions that certain illnesses are work-related in law enforcement make the individuals eligible for workers' compensation benefits. While California police officers focus on getting better, an attorney who is experienced in supporting those who protect the safety of the general public can navigate the benefits claims to obtain maximum allowed benefits.

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