Riverside Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for First Responders
Fighting for Police Officers, Firefighters, Paramedics, and Emergency Medical Technicians in Riverside to Get the Benefits They Deserve
First responders put their bodies and their lives on the line for the benefit of the public, every single day. They are regularly exposed to contagious diseases, violent criminals, fires, and other precarious situations. On-the-job injuries are common. Like any other worker in California, first responders are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage for job-related injuries and illnesses. Plus, due to the nature of the work, first responders are given special consideration, as they should.
At Ochoa & Calderón, our dedicated California workers’ compensation attorneys have over two decades of experience helping injured workers from all industries get the medical care and benefits they are owed after an on-the-job injury. Whether you were injured in a fire, a fall, an attack, an accident, or any other situation encountered while performing job-related duties, we are ready to help.
Workers’ Comp Benefits Available to First Responders
First responders include any medically trained professionals who arrive to help in emergency situations. Typically, first responders include police officers, firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and certain other public workers. These workers are exposed to any number of hazards when responding to emergencies such as fires, floods, traffic accidents, terrorist attacks, and other dangerous events.
First responders who are injured on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp benefits protect workers who are hurt on the job. Workers’ comp benefits for first responders include:
- Medical benefits for injury-related costs
- Permanent disability benefits
- Temporary disability benefits (lost wages), including the worker’s full salary for the first year (unlike other workers who only get 2/3 salary)
- Job displacement benefits, including payment for job retraining
If you’ve been hurt while on the job, an experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you understand your options for benefits and how to maximize your compensation.
Presumptive Coverage for First Responders
Because of the dangerous nature of the job, first responders are afforded certain benefits not available to other employees. There are a number of medical conditions that workers’ comp law in California assumes are work-related for first responders. Whereas most workers would need to prove these conditions arose as a result of performing job-related tasks, first responders benefit from a presumption that these conditions were contracted on the job.
Covered conditions for first responders include:
- Heart disease
- Various types of cancer
- Exposure to biochemicals
- Bloodborne infections diseases
- Lyme disease
- Certain back injuries and lumbar disorders (for qualifying officers who wear a duty belt)
Additional Protections for COVID-19
In September 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill offering special workers’ comp protections for first responders in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under normal circumstances, an employee who contracts an illness would need to prove that they contracted that illness at work in order to obtain workers’ comp protections. Under the new law, police, firefighters, and other essential employees who contract COVID-19 will benefit from an automatic presumption that they caught the novel coronavirus in connection with their job.
First responders thus automatically get workers’ comp benefits for COVID-19-related problems, including medical bills and lost wages. The law also offers added protections for workers in other industries, though not as comprehensive. Other workers also can benefit from a presumption that their COVID-19 is work-related if there is a coronavirus “outbreak” at their place of employment. Employers can still try to rebut the presumption and claim the worker contracted the illness elsewhere, but they face a high burden.
Our Riverside Workers’ Comp Lawyers Are Ready to Help First Responders Recover the Benefits They Are Owed
For help getting benefits after an on-the-job injury or workplace illness, call Ochoa & Calderón