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Are firefighters eligible for workers’ compensation?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Public safety officers play a crucial role in maintaining the safety of people within a community. Firefighters, for instance, risk their lives to save the community from dangerous blazes. In these hazardous situations, injuries and accidents can happen even when they work with caution. Moreover, firefighters could develop long-term illnesses and disabilities due to their line of work.

Firefighters, like other employees, can claim workers’ compensation. Here are three essential information about workers’ compensation.

All firefighters are eligible for workers’ compensation

In California, the workers’ compensation system aids firefighters who suffer from job-related injuries and illnesses. It covers both employed and volunteer firefighters. Even firefighters who have stopped working can claim workers’ compensation within a set period. However, benefits could differ depending on their employment status.

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance

Claiming workers’ compensation does not require proving that someone is at fault for the injury or illness. Firefighters can recover costs for their medical expenses, temporary disability treatment and lost wages. Additionally, employed firefighters are eligible for special disability compensation under the Labor Code 4850—a tax-free full salary of up to one year.

Presumption laws ensure timely workers’ compensation for firefighters

Presumption laws are powerful tools that support firefighters injured or ill due to their work. These laws shift the burden of proving work-related illnesses from employees to employers. This means that identified illnesses are presumed work-related, and the firefighters no longer need to prove it. Some of the common illnesses covered by presumption laws include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Heart and lung diseases
  • Lower back issues
  • Hernia
  • Cancer
  • Infectious diseases

Firefighters are often exposed to chemicals that could cause long-term illnesses. Firefighters also risk being struck by objects, falling from high areas and overstraining their bodies. Workers’ compensation is available to ensure that firefighters receive the necessary support they need in these challenging times.

Claiming compensation should be easy for those who protect the community, like firefighters, but that is not always the case; issues could still arise during the process. Seeking the guidance of legal professionals experienced in workers’ compensation could protect the firefighter’s rights and well-being.