There is no typical day for police officers, correctional officers or security guards. Interacting with criminals, suspects and the general public presents a constant stream of new challenges. More than 800,000 law enforcement officers risk their lives daily to ensure Americans’ safety1.
Here are 8 things all police officers should know if they experience an injury on the job:
1. Police and law enforcement officers have one of the highest rates of injury among all occupations2.
According to the latest data, in one year, officers of the law experienced more than 6,000 non-fatal injuries3 and over 48,000 were assaulted4. Most fatal injuries occurred while responding to disturbance calls or performing a traffic stop. Firearms caused the majority of fatalities5. I think we should keep it because you can get death benefits if it was work-related. We mentioned death in gas workers and construction too.
2. Motor vehicle accidents are a common source of injuries.
Cars, motorcycles and bikes are typical means of transportation for police officers. Accidents can occur because of other drivers or during suspect pursuit. Bruises, scrapes, sprains, strains, broken bones, herniated discs and concussions may occur, among other injuries.
If involved in a motor vehicle accident, officers may be eligible for additional compensation from the third party involved in the crash. An experienced attorney can determine if a third-party case is possible.
3. Back injuries and herniated discs can leave lasting effects.
Officers may need to carry individuals or wrestle with offenders, which can lead to back pain and herniated discs. The resulting back pain can be chronic and require continual medical treatment.
4. Falls can lead to joint injuries.
While pursuing offenders, officers may slip and fall, causing an awkward landing. Hand, wrist, knee and shoulder injuries can occur when officers try to break their falls.
5. Traumatic events can lead to psychological injuries.
Law enforcement is an inherently dangerous job, which can expose officers to disturbing incidents. They may witness murders, be assaulted or see a tragic accident. Psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety are common work-related injuries. Workers’ compensation covers these non-physical injuries for officers if they developed or worsened as a direct result of their occupation.
6. Pre-existing conditions that are aggravated or accelerated because of job duties may be compensable.
Being a cop can be a very physical job. Officers tend to be on their feet a lot or need to sprint at a moment’s notice. They may have a workers’ compensation claim if a pre-existing condition such as back or joint pain is worsened due to repetitive job duties. Some employers may try to fight pre-existing claims so it’s critical to have a workers’ compensation lawyer’s assistance.
7. Police officers are entitled to heart and lung benefits for workers’ compensation.
In Pennsylvania, police officers and other law enforcement officials are eligible for separate benefits under the Heart and Lung Act. Heart and lung benefits provide full salary compensation and medical benefits to officers injured on the job and expected to recover and return to work.
8. It’s crucial to report work injuries immediately.
Most police forces have a well-established process for reporting injuries; disciplinary action may occur if injuries aren’t reported. It’s always important to notify supervisors of all injuries – regardless of their severity. Even small injuries could worsen over time and jeopardize officers’ careers if not treated properly.
If you are a police or law enforcement officer that has been hurt at work, use the form below for a free consultation.