The workers’ compensation program in California is one of the most comprehensive in the nation, but independent contractors, volunteers and certain other groups are not covered. Some firefighters wonder if they are covered by workers’ comp, and the answer is yes.
What workers’ comp normally covers
It goes without saying that firefighters are vulnerable to injuries on the job. The workers’ comp program can provide benefits covering the losses that stem from one-time physical injuries as well as from any illnesses and other conditions that develop over a long time. An injured firefighter will have all medical expenses covered, including the cost of:
- Medical treatments
- Prescription medications
- Traveling to and from the hospital
In February 2020, a California senator introduced a bill that, if signed into law, could allow active firefighters to be compensated for work-related post-traumatic stress disorder. That includes firefighters employed by:
- The California Department of State Hospitals
- The California Department of Developmental Services
- The California Military Department
The bill would also provide PTSD coverage for peace officers from the Department of Justice who perform duties for state hospitals. Firefighters who incurred their injury on or after Jan. 1, 2020, can qualify.
It’s important to note that firefighters are especially likely to develop PTSD, due in large part to their continual and close-up exposure to death and suffering. Stress and feelings of guilt over the failure to save a life are just some of the factors that could compound the problem.
A lawyer to guide you through tough times
If you suffer from occupational PTSD, you’re not alone. Others like you may be struggling to seek compensation for their condition, but with a workers’ comp attorney, the burden may become lighter. It’s advisable to see an attorney for a case evaluation.
Workers’ comp benefits can cover not only medical expenses but also a portion of lost wages. With an attorney by your side, you may be able to ensure the maximum amount of benefits. If your employer refuses to pay out, you may mount an appeal with the proper legal assistance.