First off, we at the Harris Firm would like to thank all police officers and all first responders in general for everything they do to keep the citizens of our great country safe.
Police work is one of the most dangerous occupations in the workforce. The work is physical, it not only often requires combative interactions with potentially violent suspects, but even the day to day functions required of officers can lead to long term physical problems. Despite the inherent dangers of police work, the workers’ compensation system remains difficult to navigate, even for the officers who put themselves at risk to protect citizens on a daily basis. Fortunately, we at The Harris Firm have a great deal of experience dealing with injuries suffered in the line of duty. Below are just some of the situations The Harris Firm has represented injured police officer for on numerous occasions:
Injuries sustained chasing and apprehending suspects.
As every police officer knows, not every suspect goes into custody with ease. Many suspects will try to flee or fight to avoid getting arrested. Chases on foot and physical altercations can ensue from such resistance. Unfortunately, these kinds of interactions often lead to injuries. At the Harris Firm, we have seen many of the injuries that officers are familiar with as arising from arrests. Chases, particularly those on rough terrain, can lead to leg injuries and falls. Physical altercations with suspects can cause all kinds of physical problems, from damage done by getting hit by a suspect to back injuries arising from wrestling a suspect and many other potential physical problems.
Police officers undergo a lot of training to prepare themselves for the kind of interactions they may be exposed to in the workplace. This training often includes intensive physical preparation. Mock physical altercations and defensive tactics courses are much more physical than the average person understands, and participating in these types of activities can cause injuries which should be covered under the workers’ compensation system.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Many police officers spend a significant amount of time in their vehicles. Any person that spends a great deal of time on the road is at increased risk of becoming involved in a motor vehicle accident. This is even more true for police officers, who are often required to pursue other vehicles in ways that increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents. That being said, whether an accident arises from pursuing another vehicle or just in the normal course of a police officer’s shift, it is covered by the workers’ compensation system, and the medical treatment and lost wages arising from that accident fall under the jurisdiction of the workers’ compensation system.
Among the greatest risks that police officers expose themselves to while protecting our citizens is the risk of being shot by someone the officer is trying to apprehend. The risk of a police officer being shot is, of course, far, far greater than the risk to any person in the general population. Moreover, gunshot wounds can cause serious short term and long term health problems. Any police officer who is shot in the line of duty should pursue his/her workers’ compensation claim to ensure that he/she is protected for the lifetime of the injuries that might ensue.
Back injuries from wearing a police duty belt
Amongst the most common complaints that we at the Harris Firm hear from police officers involves the toll that wearing the police duty belt takes on an officer’s back. Duty belts are often heavy and awkward to wear. Even performing normal day to day activities like getting in and out of a car can cause pain to arise for an officer wearing a duty belt. When it is considered that even more physical actions are often required of officers wearing duty belts, it is no wonder that many police officers end up suffering from back pain. There has been a fair amount of research which points to the duty belt as a causative factor for the development of low back issues in police officers. The research is compelling enough that the State of California has a presumption that police officers who suffer from back issues should have workers compensation claims allowed as duty belts are likely a causative factor in the development of those issues. While we have no such presumptions in the State of Ohio, police officers who suffer from low back pain can still pursue workers compensation claims related to these issues. The system can be tricky when it comes to pursuing low back pain due to duty belt usage, so it is wise to contact an attorney to discuss how best to pursue any low back injury arising from the wearing of a duty belt. If you are a police officer who starts suffering from low back pain, the sooner you contact an attorney, the easier it is to help navigate a claim. That being said, if you are a police officer with back problems of any degree, you should contact the Harris Firm to talk over whether you should attempt to file a claim connecting those issues to the use of your duty belt.
Post traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Police work is not just physically taxing, it can be emotionally taxing as well. The kind of physical altercations that can lead a police officer to become injured can also lead that officer to develop psychological conditions. For example, feeling as if one’s life is threatened during a physical altercation can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. Physical injuries that impact an officer’s ability to adequately perform his/her job can lead to depression. If these conditions arise, they may be compensable under the Ohio workers compensation system. The Harris Firm has dealt with many such issues over the years and understands how to navigate the workers’ compensation system when such issues arise.
General Workplace Injuries
Along with the number of injuries that arise due to risks inherent to police work, there are also many injuries that police officers can suffer just like any other worker. Injuries suffered from lifting items, trips and falls, and many other actions are compensable for police officer just like they are for any other worker. Remember, the Ohio workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. That means that if you get injured at work, no matter how it happens, your injury should be covered under the system. In our years of practice, the attorneys at the Harris Firm have encountered just about every kind of injury one could suffer. So if you are a police officer and you suffer any kind of injury, feel free to call our office for help.
Here to Help When You Need It Most – Contact Our Firm Today
Police officers put themselves on the line to protect our country’s citizens, and unfortunately, injuries such as the ones listed above often arise from the performance of an officer’s job. It is equally disconcerting that, despite the life-risking work that police officers perform, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation still makes it difficult for officers to get the treatment and benefits they deserve. We at the Harris Firm have represented countless police officers over the years, and we know what it takes to get those officers the medical coverage and compensation they deserve. If you are a police officer who has suffered a work-related injury, call our office today and we can explain the steps we can take to help you get the results you deserve.