First responders put their lives on the line every day to keep the public safe. They have some of the most dangerous jobs in our society, and they run a high risk of death, catastrophic injury and other dangers. Workers’ compensation benefits are available to them just like they are to workers in a private industry. However, first responders should be aware of the additional benefits that they are entitled to under California’s workers’ compensation laws.
First responders and PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a real and serious consequence of the work that first responders do every day. Sometimes it can be serious enough that it can prevent you from being able to return to work and fulfill your duties for a while.
A new California law makes it much easier for first responders to request and receive workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD. Under the law, PTSD qualifies as a recognized injury for the purposes of workers’ compensation benefits and leave for firefighters and police officers, due to the higher than normal likelihood of traumatic experiences while on the job.
Other injuries that first responders face
California law also assists first responders with obtaining workers’ compensation benefits for injuries other than PTSD. The law creates a presumption that first responders’ injuries arose out of their employment, which is one of the elements that you need to prove before you can qualify for benefits.
Hospital employees who provide care to patients also count as first responders for the purposes of additional workers’ compensation benefits. Thus, registered nurses and other hospital staff can receive the same workers’ compensation benefits that police officers, EMTs, and firefighters can.
We depend upon our first responders to be able to enter dangerous situations at a moment’s notice and make life or death decisions instantly. If you are a first responder, and you’ve suffered a work injury during the course of your duties, you don’t have to face the consequences alone. You can apply for workers’ compensation to take care of you until you can make a full recovery and you are ready to return to your duties.