Our Boston workers' compensation attorneys would like to take the opportunity to thank the many brave first responders and emergency personnel this Fourth of July weekend. While most Americans have the day off from work and are having a relaxing and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend, many emergency personnel and first responders will be out in force keeping all of us safe. Whether they are patrolling the highways, standing by at sporting events and fireworks displays, or performing any number of important tasks, they remain on the job.
Each year, firefighters, police officers, ambulance drivers, EMTs, and paramedics, rank among the most dangerous occupations. Firefighters expose themselves to all kinds of risks every time they go out on a call. There are dangers related to driving to an emergency, smoke inhalation, and falling objects during fire rescue operations. For police, the most common cause of workplace injuries are vehicle collisions and being assaulted during an arrest. EMTs and paramedics are commonly injured in typical on-the-job situations, plus the many dangerous job tasks associated with helping patients. One particularly scary risk is contracting a blood borne illness from accidental needle sticks. Trying to restrain a patient in a moving ambulance to give an injection is no easy task.
While there is no doubt that these first responders know they are putting themselves at risk, as many of them have adopted the motto "so others may live," when they are injured on the job, they deserve to receive fair and adequate workers' compensation benefits. Unfortunately, securing adequate benefits can sometimes be a real problem. In Florida, for example, there is a two-year limit on workers' compensation benefits for emergency personnel.
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