As a police officer, you accept certain risks. You know that you could find yourself in a dangerous situation at any time. You do what you can to prevent injuries to yourself, your fellow officers and the citizens you swore to protect. Unfortunately, your luck could run out, and you could find yourself suffering from an injury.
When most people in California think about a police officer suffering an injury on duty, they more than likely think about car accidents, shootings and physical altercations. However, other unseen hazards could also put the lives of the state’s law enforcement officers in jeopardy — maybe not today or tomorrow, but at some point.
Unseen or dismissed dangers
Because of the nature of your job, you tend to run in where others fear to tread. You might rejoice when you come out of the situation seemingly unscathed, but in reality, you could be exposed to something that might threaten your health in the future. For instance, any of the following might occur while you are at a scene:
- Smoke inhalation
- Exposure to a communicable disease
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals or materials
- Direct contact with infected blood or bodily fluids
- Needle sticks
- Physical contact with a foreign substance
You might also feel physical symptoms that you dismiss, such as nausea, skin irritation or a cough, along with other symptoms that occur either during or after an incident.
Report and document
You might feel fine now, but you should document any of the above and perhaps report it as well. The after effects of these unseen dangers could cause you to suffer from a debilitating and even fatal health problem in the future.
It’s possible that you could receive a diagnosis that you may be able to trace back to such an incident. If your doctor knows the potential source of your illness, it could affect your treatment and prognosis.
Receiving workers’ compensation benefits
You might be like others in assuming that workers’ compensation benefits only become available to those who suffer obvious injuries in a sudden accident. Fortunately, that just isn’t true. If you develop an illness that you believe is work related, you could receive much needed benefits. Those benefits could help with your medical expenses, lost wages and other financial needs.
You more than likely already experience stress, anxiety and frustration over your situation. After avoiding potentially life-threatening injuries over the course of your career, you now face an enemy you cannot see. You might feel as though you have little control over your future. The last thing you need is further frustration caused by going through the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim on your own.
An attorney could provide the assistance and guidance you need to receive benefits while you focus on your treatment and your life.