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Law Enforcement Injuries

Fresno Law Enforcement Injuries

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Each day, law enforcement officers in Fresno risk their lives protecting the community. The unique hazards that law enforcement officers face are often dangerous and life-threatening and may result in serious injury or death. However, law enforcement officers who suffer work-related injuries or disabilities may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for their medical expenses and lost wages.

At Berry, Smith & Bartell, our Fresno workers’ compensation lawyers are dedicated to helping law enforcement officers injured in the line-of-duty. We are ready to assist police officers and sheriff’s deputies who suffer injuries file a workers’ compensation claim to obtain the benefits they deserve. Our attorneys will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to review the circumstances behind your Fresno law enforcement injury claim and determine the true amount of benefits you may be entitled to receive.

With more than 60 years of combined legal experience, we are qualified to handle numerous types of workers’ compensation cases. Whether you are a member of the Fresno Police Department, Fresno County Sherriff’s Office or another law enforcement agency, we will dedicate our skills and resources to help you recover the benefits you deserve. All of our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge upfront legal fees for representing our clients. You will only have to pay us if we help you obtain workers’ compensation benefits for your injury.

Call 1-800-848-6288 to find out how we can help you.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for California Law Enforcement Officers

When a law enforcement officer in California suffers an on-the-job injury, he or she can receive workers’ compensation medical benefits, temporary disability, permanent disability and death benefits.

However, under California Code, Labor Code- LAB § 4850, law enforcement officers who become totally disabled from a workplace injury are entitled to certain benefits that are not offered to other types of workers. This includes one year's salary in place of disability benefits that are payable under this section of the labor code – these disability payments are worth two-thirds of the officer's pre-injury salary. These benefits will end sooner if the law enforcement officer retires with a permanent disability pension, starts receiving disability pension payments or advanced disability pension payments. Benefits will end on the date any of these three things happens, whichever happens first.

Under workers' compensation law, many other workers who suffer a covered injury are only entitled to two-thirds of their salary when forced to miss work while recovering from a temporary disability.

 If a law enforcement officer is still unable to work after one year, he or she is entitled to two-thirds of his or her pre-injury salary. These benefits combined with one year's salary are known as aggregate disability benefits (§4656 of the Labor Code). However, workers, including police officers, are only entitled to 104 weeks of “aggregate disability payments” within a five-year period of each injury.

For example, a Fresno law enforcement officer may suffer an injury while on duty that forces him or her to remain off work for one year while recovering. The officer will be entitled to receive his or her full salary during this first year. If the officer’s physician determines he or she needs to remain off work for another year, the officer will be entitled to receive temporary disability benefits of two-thirds of his or her salary. However, once 104 weeks have passed since the officer first suffered a work-related injury, he or she cannot receive any additional temporary disability benefits for missing work.

However, the 104-week limitation will be extended to 240 weeks within a five-year period if the worker suffers any of the following injuries:

  • Chronic lung disease
  • Severe burns
  • Loss of limbs
  • Acute and chronic hepatitis B or C
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Chemical burns of the eyes
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • High-velocity eye injuries

To learn more about the benefits offered to Fresno law enforcement officers who suffer a work-related injury, contact Berry, Smith & Bartell for a free, no obligation consultation. We will help you understand if you may be entitled to compensation and the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to receive.

To get started on a Fresno law enforcement injury claim, complete a Free Case Evaluation form.  

Death Benefits for California Law Enforcement Officers

In the event that a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty, California provides several types of death benefits for the officer’s family or dependents.

California Code, Labor Code- LAB § 4856 states that whenever a law enforcement officer is killed in the performance of his or her duties, his or her employer shall continue providing health benefits to the decedent’s spouse under the same terms and conditions prior to his or her death. The law enforcement officer’s spouse can also choose to receive a lump-sum survivors benefit instead of monthly payments.

Additionally, a minor dependent under the age of 18 may continue to receive benefits under the coverage provided to the surviving spouse or, if there is no spouse, until the minor dependent reaches age 21.

However, the surviving spouse may not add his or her new spouse or stepchildren as a family member under the continued health benefits coverage.

Call 1-800-848-6288 to schedule a consultation with our attorneys.

When Should I Start Receiving Benefit Payments?

Law enforcement officers should receive their first disability benefit payment two weeks from the date of being diagnosed with an injury or medical condition that prevents the officer from working. 

Unfortunately, insurers have been known to unreasonably delay or refuse to pay workers’ compensation benefits payments. In this situation, insurers can be fined up to 25 percent of the amount delayed or up to $10,000, whichever amount is less, according to California Labor Code- LAB § 5814.

When this occurs, it may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney who is familiar with California’s Labor Code and can help you appeal an insurer’s decision.

Free Case Evaluation form us to discuss your Fresno law enforcement injury claim.

Who is a Law Enforcement Officer in California?

The disability benefits discussed above are extended to all full-time law enforcement officers in California, including:

  • City police officers
  • Sherriff’s deputies
  • Inspectors
  • Investigators
  • California Highway Patrol
  • Detectives
  • County probation officers
  • Group counselors
  • Juvenile service officers
  • Harbor police
  • Airport law enforcement officers
  • Employees of a sheriff’s department
  • Employees of a probation office
  • Police officers of the Fresno Unified School District 

Any person who is employed on a regular, full-time basis and suffers a permanent or temporary disability that arises out of the course of his or her duties, shall be entitled to a leave of absence to recover without a loss of salary.

However, California’s special workers’ compensation benefits do not apply to personnel considered non-active law enforcement service personnel. This includes telephone operators, clerks, stenographers, mechanics and machinists.

Presumptive On-Duty Injuries for Fresno Law Enforcement Officers

Under the California Labor Code 3212.1, several injuries and medical conditions are presumed to be work-related for many types of law enforcement personnel. This includes:

  • Cancer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Meningitis
  • Heart trouble
  • Pneumonia
  • Blood-borne infectious diseases
  • Injuries or medical complications related to a biological or chemical agent

If you or someone you love is a law enforcement officer and suffered an on-duty injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. We will thoroughly investigate your injury to determine its possible cause and whether it can be traced to the course of your regular duties.

To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call 1-800-848-6288 today.

What if My Employer Claims My Injury is Pre-Existing?

In many cases, employees find it difficult to obtain the workers’ compensation benefits they need due to employers disputing their claims. All too often, workers’ compensation claim disputes occur when an employer alleges the employee’s injury or medical condition is pre-existing and is not work-related.

However, many injuries and medical conditions suffered by Fresno law enforcement officers are presumed to be work-related. Even if you suffer a pre-existing condition, you could still be owed benefits.  

Nevertheless, law enforcement officers may be denied crucial workers’ compensation benefits. When this occurs, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney to discuss your claim. An attorney will help you determine which legal options may be available for you to obtain the benefits you need. If you are unable to reach a fair settlement with your employer, an attorney can help you appeal your claim.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now.

Schedule a Free Consultation About Your Fresno Law Enforcement Injury

Berry, Smith & Bartell’s attorneys are dedicated to defending the rights of injured law enforcement officers in Fresno. We provide free, no obligation consultations to injured workers where we help them determine their legal options for recovering the benefits they need.

Our attorneys will carefully review your claim, including the cause of your injury and its severity, to help you determine if you are receiving the full amount of benefits you may be entitled to receive. All of our services are provided on a contingency fee basis and there are no upfront legal fees if we represent you. This means we will help you pursue workers’ compensation benefits and only charge you if we recover benefits on your behalf.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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