Attorney for Injured Police Officers in Virginia
Police officers have dangerous jobs and face unique risks that many civilians do not. This means that on the job injuries are a fact of life for police officers and law enforcement officials.
In our experience many police officers ignore their injuries or minimize their symptoms so that they can continue to protect and serve. Unfortunately this can result in legal complications when their injury or illness worsens and prevents them from working full duty.
This article explains your legal rights and responsibilities as a police officer seeking workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia. If you have any questions about your workers’ compensation claim, or are looking for a top-rated Virginia workers compensation attorney to protect your legal rights, call, text, or email Corey Pollard for a free strategy session.
We understand the pressures and stress that police are under on a daily basis. And we believe that injured police officers deserve every penny and medical treatment available under Virginia workers compensation law. If you are or were a police officer who was injured on the job or contracted an occupational illness, we can help you negotiate a top dollar Virginia workers compensation settlement. We represent police officers across the state, including those in or near Richmond, Chesterfield, Charlottesville, Roanoke, Fairfax, Prince William County, Fredericksburg, Norfolk, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, and Chesapeake.
What Does Workers’ Comp Provide to Injured Police Officers?
As an injured police officer in Virginia, you may be entitled to several types of benefits under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, including:
- Medical Coverage – Workers’ compensation provides for the payment of all reasonable and necessary medical care related to your work-related injury or occupational disease. You do not have to use your health insurance for coverage and are not required to make any co-pays.
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits – If you are an injured or sick police officer who is unable to return to work for an extended period or who misses days intermittently because of the work-related injury or illness, you are entitled to tax-free wage loss benefits at 2/3 of your pre-injury wage.
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits – Sometimes police departments put injured police officers on light duty at a lower wage – due to either a new position involving less physical tasks or a reduction in hours worked. You are entitled to 2/3 of the difference in your pre- and post-injury wages.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits – Injured police officers are entitled to compensation for permanent impairment of the injured body part.
What Should a Police Officer Do after a Work-Related Injury?
To protect your legal right to workers’ compensation as a police officer, you must follow certain procedures.
First, you must give notice of the work injury or occupational disease to your employer right away. Do not wait – even if you think the injury is minor.
Second, you must file a claim for benefits with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission within the statute of limitations. Even if you notified your employer and sought medical care, your right to benefits may be barred if you do not file at timely claim.
Common Police Officer Work Injuries
As a law enforcement officer, you put your health at risk to help others. As such, we have noticed that some workplace injuries are more common among police officers. These include:
- Neck, back, and shoulder injuries from taking down suspects during arrests and from going through tactical training.
- Foot and ankle injuries from chasing suspects
- Back, hip, and knee injuries due to the weight of gun belts, vests, and heavy lifting
- Gunshot wounds
- Post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety from responding to gruesome accident scenes
In addition to these injuries, police officers are often involved in car accidents that can cause work injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.
Further, certain occupational disease presumptions apply specifically to police officers and other first responders. For example, if a police officer develops hypertension or heart disease, the employer and its insurance company have the burden of disproving that it is related to the employment. Police officers may also be entitled to workers’ comp benefits for injuries sustained while training or even when they are off duty.
An Experienced Police Officer Workers Compensation Lawyer in Virginia
As a police officer in Virginia, you are exposed to many dangers and physical demands that few other occupations are. Despite the nature of their job, or perhaps because of it, many law enforcement officers are hesitant to file a workers’ compensation claim or pursue their legal rights because of concerns they will look weak. Others are hesitant to pursue the benefits they deserve because they think that physical injury and psychological stress are just part of the job.
The Virginia General Assembly recognizes that stress is part of a police officer’s job. And that’s exactly why it has enacted special laws that favor injured and sick law enforcement officers. So if you are a police officer, correctional officer, or other law enforcement official who is injured in the line of duty or who has contracted an occupational disease affecting your heart or lungs, you should do everything you can to protect you and your family’s rights under Virginia workers’ compensation law.
The best way to protect your rights is to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who has handled police officer workers comp claims.
Corey Pollard has represented many first responders and public safety employees in workers’ compensation cases. And he is ready to help you. Call us today at 804-251-1620, or complete the online consultation form to your right to get started.