Police Injuries & Workers' Comp: Steps to Take
Police officers face several unique risks due to the dangerous nature of their occupation, such as gunshot wounds, hearing loss from years of using firearms, or injuries sustained during training exercises. As such, California’s workers’ compensation laws address these risks and provide certain protections for law enforcement officials in the event that they should be injured in the line of duty. Under workers’ compensation, all full and part-time police officers that become injured or ill as a result of their occupation may collect monetary benefits to cover their lost wages, medical expenses, disability benefits, and death benefits for surviving family members.
If you are a police officer and have suffered a work-related injury, you will need to complete the following steps to apply for your entitled benefits:
- Seek medical attention: If your injuries warrant emergency medical treatment, call an ambulance or head to the nearest emergency room. If you are conscious, inform the doctor that your injuries occurred as a result of your work as a police officer and their cause.
- Inform your employer: As soon as you can, inform your employer of your injuries. If your injuries or illness has slowly developed over time, let your employer know as soon as your condition causes you to miss work or see a doctor for treatment. If you fail to inform your employer in a timely manner, you may lose your right to receive your benefits.
- Complete a DWC-1 form: Form DWC-1 is the general workers’ comp claim form. This form will ask for your basic personal information and the details surrounding your injury. It is important you are thorough when filling out this form and name each body part that has been injured. Submit this form to your employer, who will in turn submit it to their insurance company.
- Complete an Application for Adjudication of Claim: To complete your official filing, you will need to fill out WCAB Form 1 with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) within one year of your accident. This form will require you to name your employer’s insurer, which can be found either on the carbon copy of your DWC-1 form or by contacting the WCAB directly. This form can be filed in person at the WCAB district office or by sending it by mail with a proof of service form.
- Complete a Declaration Pursuant to Labor Code 4906(g): This form verifies that neither you nor your doctor have submitted any false or fraudulent information in your application.
- Include a DWC cover sheet and document separators: These items can be found at the DWC website and are to be placed at the top of your package of forms and after each form in your package, respectively.
After your packet is submitted, the workers’ compensation insurance company must respond to your claim within 14 days by either beginning making temporary disability payments, sending you a letter informing you of a denial of your claim, or informing you that the insurance company is investigating your claim. If an insurer does not respond within 14 days, it is liable for a 10% penalty on any payments you should have received during this time.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation claims regularly experience hiccups or denials from insurers over questionable details. If you have been injured in the line of duty, our Orange County workers’ compensation lawyers at Alvandi Law Group can advocate on your behalf and maximize your chances of securing your entitled benefits. Having handled numerous police officer injury claims for clients throughout Orange County for more than a decade, we are proud to serve our local police officers and can provide the support you need during this difficult time.
To find out more about how we can help, call (800) 980-6905 today.