Safety officers or first responders, who suffer an injury on the job, can file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. A safety officer or first responder job is inherently more risky than other jobs.
California law recognizes the danger of these professions, provides additional benefits and allows claims for injuries that most persons cannot claim as worker’s compensation.
For first responders and other safety officers, worker’s compensation benefits pay the worker the total amount of their salary for one year after the injury. Persons in different fields can only claim up to two-thirds of their salary, with limits on the total amount paid.
Conditions that qualify
Worker’s compensation in California recognizes that a first responder or safety officer may suffer injuries that do not manifest in the short term but develop over time. For this reason, the law specifies that certain medical conditions suffered by first responders qualify as work-related injuries. These illnesses include bloodborne infectious diseases, heart disease, meningitis, hernia, Lyme disease, cancer and biochemical exposure.
In addition to these specific illnesses, the law defines back injuries as work-related for safety officers who use a duty belt as part of their work equipment. The officer has to serve for at least five years to qualify their back injury as work-related automatically.
First responders and safety officers protect the public as part of their daily job function. These workers regularly disregard their safety to help others. Persons who work in these positions deserve compensation if they suffer an injury.