Police officers and firefighters put their well-being, if not their lives, on the line every day. Their respective jobs present significant and sometimes deadly risks. Putting themselves in danger increases the chances of a severe injury
Like any other public or private industry, they are entitled to workers’ compensation when an accident or incident occurs. Similarly, they face the same challenges that their peers in all industries face. Regardless of whether they work for a government or private entity, they will deal with the same challenges.
Similarities also exist regarding workers’ compensation benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (ILWCA) and the Public Employees Disability Act (PEDA). In addition to feeling the pain of injuries, public employees may experience those in supervisory roles treating them differently from their peers who have not been injured.
Public bureaucracies are always looking to slash costs, particularly in a challenging economy when the pressure is at its highest. Fewer injury benefits help a bottom line, whether that takes the form of delaying or failing to file a legitimate claim.
Denied claims are common, with many first responders giving up, presuming that the verdict is final. However, cases can be appealed with the help of legal counsel to secure the benefits they are entitled to under the law. That includes presenting medical data to link their injuries or illnesses with their job duties.
New to the list of afflictions while in the line of duty is the novel coronavirus, a law put into place more than one year ago. First responders are particularly susceptible to catching COVID-19 and the Delta variant. They are also equally likely to have their public employer challenge the claim.
Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim alone only makes a bad situation worse. Public employees suffering the pain from injuries need time to heal. A skilled attorney can take on the legal “heavy lifting” throughout the entire process.