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What Happens To A Public Safety Officer Injured on the Job?

Police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical service personnel are the most common examples of public safety officers. Others include emergency preparedness managers, wildlife marshals and chaplains, correctional facilities guards, parole officers and more. A public safety officer injured on the job will have different experiences than other professionals after-the-fact and particularly when preparing to return to work.

Assume any one of these hardworking people is driving a vehicle for their job and is rear-ended and sustains a severe ankle injury. Though it is not a life-threatening injury, it has repercussions to be aware of.

If injured while working, a police officer, sheriff, firefighter or other public safety officer will have to prepare for several actions and claims:

  1. Filing a personal injury claim against the other driver, just as anyone likely would. This includes reviewing your own personal insurance policy to determine if you can file a suit. And just like a private citizen, the officer should gather all evidence, pictures and documentation about the accident to support their statements and claim. Simply stated, your own private insurance can be applied to this claim.
  2. Filing a workers’ compensation claim, since the injury happened while the officer was working. While this is often the first source of insurance public safety officers go to, it should not be the only one, especially since this type of insurance will only factor in base salary and not overtime pay.
    Following an on-the-job accident, public safety officers should never assume that this sort of coverage will instantly be triggered, or that its payments will sustain your quality of life for the long term.
  3. An internal review of the incident performed by an investigator appointed by the city/county/state the officer serves. This occurs because the officer was operating a vehicle owned by the municipality, for instance, and the investigator seeks to confirm the officer was following the proper policies and procedures.

This is, of course, an abridged version of the claims process. Each claimant’s case will vary due to the severity of the injury, the length of the public service career and several other factors.

Returning To Work

Even if the officer wishes to return to work, they need to be cleared by a physician. The ankle injury example demonstrates why such reviews and processes are in place — an officer’s job inherently requires them to literally be on their feet.

If not fully healed, the officer will not be able to perform essential duties like chase down suspects, safely carry heavy loads, or climb ladders. By returning to work without proper medical clearance, the officer will further endanger themselves or others and cause further financial hardships and liability issues for the municipality’s claims process.

These are common examples of what happens after a public safety officer is injured on the job, but it is just a starting point. Complexities will arise due to the paperwork involved, and particularly if and when liens on private insurance suits are involved.

It is best to hire a law firm that specializes or focuses on representing public safety officers, and also maintains stable relationships with local and state offices. Furthermore, investigating, litigating and settling these claims can be a lengthy and sometimes costly process.

That is why PeacockLaw, a.p.c. typically files these injury claims within 48 hours of accepting each case. We exclusively represent public safety officers and are well-versed in your claims process. Our we lead the discussion and the negotiations, which leads to faster and larger insurance coverage payouts.

What Happens To A Public Safety Officer Injured On The Job?

A public safety officer who is injured while working will face different challenges than a private citizen or other type of professional. Additional insurance claims need to be filed, reviews of the incident will be conducted, and the return-to-work date will be thoroughly assessed to ensure your health and the safety of others.

Police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, corrections officers, parole agents and other professionals who serve the public should always prepare for the possibility of an injury. The misconception is that workers’ compensation and disability coverage will immediately be triggered and that alone will provide ample income while you heal. This article offers a brief and pragmatic glimpse into what to expect in that event, along with steps you should take and the type of skills and contacts your lawyers should have in order to maximize your coverage and payouts.

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