You may remember an incident last year when a massive apartment fire broke out in east Charlotte. Thanks to the hard work and bravery of 48 firefighters, the fire was extinguished in less than an hour. It’s amazing that a fire causing an estimated $200,000 in damage could be tamed so quickly. Fortunately, no residents or firefighters were injured in the fire.
Often, when people imagine work injuries or workers’ compensation, they’re thinking of injuries such as falls at work, heavy machinery accidents, or strain from repetitive motion. Many people forget that workers’ compensation also covers civil servants such as firefighters. Firefighters have physically intense jobs. Thankfully, workers’ compensation helps support the firefighters who get injured helping us.
Firefighters’ Injuries Can Be Serious
The job of a firefighter can be dangerous. While most of us don’t think much about firefighters until there’s a call for help, their job requires them to face some pretty serious risks every day.
In fact, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), firefighters die on the job at a rate nearly three to four times higher than other occupations.
While many of these deaths are preventable, some aren’t. Firefighters can get injured due to many reasons including equipment failure, structural collapse, smoke inhalation, burns, heat exhaustion, and even explosions. These injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to major burns and amputations.
If you’re a firefighter and you’ve been hurt on the job, you might not realize that you have legal protections under workers’ compensation laws. Even though you’re covered by workers’ comp, you may still need a lawyer to protect your rights.
Firefighters Must Be Aware of Their Rights
When firefighters are injured on the job, they often feel like they should just tough it out. After all, they signed up for this life-threatening profession knowing that they would occasionally get hurt.
But that doesn’t mean that they should accept anything less than full medical care and financial security after an injury. When firefighters are hurt on the job, they deserve to be treated fairly and compensated for their injuries.
That’s why it’s important for firefighters to understand their rights under workers’ compensation law. They must know what benefits they’re entitled to receive and how to file claims with their employers.
Unfortunately, many firefighters don’t know their rights because they haven’t had to use them before. That’s why it’s so important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
Workers’ Comp Can Cover Medical Expenses And Lost Wages
One of the biggest advantages of workers’ compensation is that it provides coverage for medical expenses and lost wages. This means that if you’re hurt while working, you won’t have to worry about paying for your treatment yourself.
Your employer will pay for any necessary medical treatment related to your workplace accident. If you lose time from work due to your injury, your employer will cover your lost wages.
Your employer may also provide additional benefits such as temporary disability payments, permanent disability payments, vocational rehabilitation services, and death benefits.
You’ll Need A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer To Protect You
Even though workers’ compensation is designed to protect employees, sometimes it doesn’t do enough. For example, some companies try to avoid paying for medical bills or lost wages by denying that the employee was hurt in the first place.
To make sure that you get the benefits you deserve, you may choose to hire a workers’ compensation attorney who knows how to fight for your rights.
At Oxner + Permar, we’re very appreciative of the work that firefighters do for us and our community. If you’re a firefighter who has been hurt on the job or know someone who is, we’d be more than happy to answer any questions about injuries sustained while at work. The service you provide is invaluable, and we want to make sure that your rights are being protected. To all of you who put your lives on the line for public well being: Thank you!