Working in law enforcement in California is understandably dangerous. Much of the risk stems from officers simply doing their jobs, making arrests, helping people and dealing with emergencies. Getting to an emergency can be risky in and of itself, as officers must navigate traffic and drive at certain speeds to get to their destination. Officers can even be hurt when their vehicle is hit by another car. While it might not be the most common way in which officers are hurt, auto accidents can happen and lead to injuries and even fatalities.
According to recent reports, a crash involving a California Highway Patrol vehicle led to the officers being injured. The accident happened in the early morning hours shortly before 3 a.m. There were four vehicles in the accident. The investigation shows that a 19-year-old was speeding in a 2013 Chrysler. That car subsequently hit two other vehicles, including a Prius being driven by a 39-year-old and a 2008 truck. The Prius careened into an area of the freeway where the police vehicle was stationed with its overhead lights on. It was not moving. The cruiser was rear-ended. One of the officers inside was severely injured. The other had injuries that were described as moderate. The 19-year-old was arrested for DUI.
People in law enforcement and other first responders place themselves in harm’s way as part of the job. Even when they are simply in uniform and in a stationary position, they face risk. After an accident while working, there can be hospitalization, medical expenses, lost time on the job, lost wages and other challenges. This should be covered by workers’ compensation. However, there are frequent disagreements regarding how long the worker should be off the job and the extent of the injuries. A dispute between the insurer and the injured party can hinder a claim. There could be injuries that are mental and emotional rather than physical. These factors should be considered when filing a workers’ compensation claim after injuries suffered in high risk occupations.