Is it a Surprise that Firefighters Are at Risk for Work Accidents?
More than likely, it seems like a rhetorical question. Of course, firefighters are at risk for work accidents. What’s really amazing is that many don’t bother to pursue workers’ compensation claims.
First things first. Why are the statistics so low on firefighters seeking workers’ compensation benefits? In the case of career firefighters, it may be that they figure their employer is already taking care of them. For starters, issues regarding payment for medical treatment are rare.
Next, is the issue of temporary disability benefits. Most New Jersey employees only receive a portion of lost wages when the doctor tells them to stay out for an on the job injury (OJI). Further, those amounts are capped according to a set schedule.
Meanwhile, that’s not the case for paid firefighters. In many cases, they receive their full paycheck and feel their employer is taking care of them. Little do they know that they may be entitled to at least permanent partial disability workers’ compensation awards.
In fact, some career firefighters worry that any assessment of permanent disability could jeopardize the job they love. They may also be under the mistaken impression that partial disability could force them to accept a low disability pension.
Career and volunteer firefighters alike face many of the same risks. Communities like Jersey City, Hoboken, and Bayonne all have paid firemen. However, neighboring communities suffice with volunteers. Does this mean they must forego workers’ compensation benefits? It’s an important subject that we will devote exclusive time to early next week.
Firefighters and Work Accidents
Just a few weeks ago, news articles shared the story of a Newark firefighter hurt while fighting a fire. He was deemed critically injured when he became trapped inside a tire and auto shop. The good news follows in an updated news article. It includes a video of the severely injured firefighter’s hospital release.
It goes without saying. Fighting fires are dangerous. Notwithstanding, America’s Bravest take it on with a passion. Burns and smoke inhalation are just some of the anticipated risks. Here are some other potential work accidents:
- Exposure to dangerous substances causes occupational illness such as cancer
- Lifting or pulling massive equipment results in back, neck, or shoulder injuries
- Rescue efforts subject firefighters to prospective harm
- Cars failing to yield to emergency responders cause fire engine or fire truck crash
Meanwhile, these are only some examples of accidents that can contribute to firefighters suffering OJIs. However, just because the profession has associated risks does not mean that workers’ compensation benefits should be ignored. Unfortunately, there are also circumstances when firefighters lose their lives as a result of a work accident. In that case, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help ensure the dependents receive benefits due to them.
Firefighter Hurt at Work?
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we are grateful for the brave work firefighters do on a daily basis. If you suffered an on the job injury, we would like to provide you with legal advice concerning workers’ compensation benefits. Give us a call to set up a complimentary meeting.