Massachusetts First-Responder Injuries a Risk Through Fourth of July Weekend

Our workplace injury 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.

fireworks12.jpgEach 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.

The constitutionality of this law is currently being challenged in the state supreme court. In that case, a firefighter was injured on the job and required two operations on his back and one on his leg. He was paid two years of benefits under a temporary total disability rating (TTD), but his benefits were terminated when he reached the statutory limit. At this point, he filed for additional benefits under a partial permanent disability rating but was denied those benefits because, according to the judge, he had not been disabled long enough to be considered permanent. With the two-year limit on TTD benefits for firefighters and it being too premature to achieve a permanent disability rating, there is a gap in benefits that can have a detrimental effect on a brave first responder who was injured while doing his job and keeping us all safe.

It is because of such issues that these workers’ compensation cases can be extremely complex. An attorney who regularly handles these types of cases can assist you in obtaining the benefits you deserve. Even if your employer tells you that they want you to get the benefits you are seeking, it may be their insurance company denying claims.

If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim: (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

Firefighters Hurt on the Job: Florida Justices Will Decide Legality of 2-Year Limit on Benefit, June 6, 2014, Flagler Live
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New England Job Safety Watch: Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss, June 13, 2013.

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