California law enforcement officers put themselves in danger every day. It is a part of the job. They understand what they are likely to face when they take the job. Even with that, workplace injuries can come as a surprise and leave officers wondering how to make ends meet and pay medical expenses in the aftermath. Although it is generally expected that those who work in law enforcement, as firefighters or as first responders will get workers’ compensation benefits when they are hurt, it is still important to ensure the claim is approved and the maximum benefits are received.
Since law enforcement – especially California Highway Patrol – are required to help with traffic issues and accidents, they will be in danger on the road. Just such a situation led to an officer being injured in a hit-and-run. According to the investigation, the officer was taking debris off the road at approximately 10:30 p.m. A vehicle sped toward him. He stopped the vehicle and when he went to speak to the driver, the driver placed his foot on the gas trying to flee. The officer was hit, as was the police cruiser. The driver fled.
The officer was on the side of the road, but got to a safe area and contacted backup. Other officers found the vehicle not far from the incident. The driver was given a breathalyzer test and handcuffed. He was arrested for drunk driving. The driver’s girlfriend arrived and was also arrested for drunk driving. The officer was hospitalized with moderate injuries. He is expected to recover.
Law enforcement officers have a variety of duties that inevitably place them in harm’s way. When there are injuries, they might be unable to work for an extended period, may not have the physical capabilities to fulfill those duties and need medical care and have problems returning to the job. This is when it is crucial to understand the steps necessary to get workers’ compensation. While it might be expected that their claims will be approved without a problem, that is not always the case and there can be disputes as to how severe the injuries are and the extent of the treatment needed.
When a law enforcement officer is hurt on the job, the first step is to get the required treatment. After that, thinking about the future is key. Part of that entails getting workers’ compensation. Those in high risk occupations should understand their legal rights.