One might think that a high-risk job in law enforcement would come with effective and prompt workers' compensation benefits for injured officers. A new investigative report from NBC4 News, however, has shed light on the struggles many officers face when trying to receive workers' comp benefits and the detrimental effects that struggle has had on their career and their lives.
"What it does to the human spirit, you asked me to put it into words and I can't even come up with words for what it did." Those are the words of Channing Lang, an LAPD officer with 14 years on the job, describing what it is like to be unable to work. Lang suffered a knee injury during a foot pursuit that eventually spiraled into a debilitating condition. She hasn't received the workers' comp benefits she needs to continue working.
Senior Lead Officer Martin Martinez has a similar story: after 30 years on the force, his knees have been injured from carrying 30 lbs. of gear while on duty. Specialists recommended surgery—a procedure he cannot afford without receiving the elusive workers' comp benefits available through the city's insurance provider.
"Room For Improvement"
City data shows that over the last few years, the rate of claim denials for police officers is fairly low, but that there's also been a significant uptick in the number of claims. There also remains a significant number of injured officers whose claims have yielded insufficient care or are tied up in red tape.
"Our numbers are higher than other jurisdictions are, and also it is taking longer for our people to get back to work," said Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin, who doesn't mince words when it comes to his opinion on the state's workers' comp system. "If you wanted to design a painful, lengthy, expensive system you couldn't have done a better job than the one that the state has right now."
If you have been injured on the job and need to secure workers' compensation benefits, then Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation is ready to assist you. Our team of Central Valley workers' compensation lawyers has more than 120 years of combined experience in this practice area. We know what it takes to secure our clients results and are ready to assess your claim today.
Don't hesitate to seek counsel for your claim. Use our online form to request a consultation with our team now.