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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Violence Against Police Officers?

police officer standing at crime scenePolice officers often put themselves in harm’s way to apprehend those who are breaking the law. They could be shot at, physically attacked or injured in a motor vehicle crash while pursuing someone fleeing from a traffic stop or after committing a crime.

One of the most important factors to consider about eligibility for workers’ compensation is whether the officer was injured while doing something his or her job requires. While making this determination may sound simple on the surface, it can become complicated.

Below, learn more about Bakersfield law enforcement injury claims and the benefits that may be available for police officers who get hurt in the course of their jobs.

What is a Work-Related Injury for a Police Officer?

When police officers are on duty and engaged in work-related tasks, they should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they suffer an injury, including an injury caused by another’s violent actions.

There are countless examples of work-related tasks during which an injury could be suffered:

  • Chasing someone who is fleeing arrest
  • Making a traffic stop
  • Serving a warrant
  • Responding to a house call, such as a call about domestic violence
  • Making an arrest
  • Responding to an active shooter or mass shooting situation
  • Patrolling an area in a police vehicle
  • Responding to looting or rioting

Violence against officers often occurs when officers are attempting to make an arrest, chasing a suspect or dealing with situations like rioting or looting.

Generally, police officers must be on duty when they suffer an injury to be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. However, sometimes benefits can be awarded for injuries that occurred while an officer was off duty.

In 2018, then-governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that said police officers and firefighters who are injured while responding to emergencies while not on official duty shall receive the same benefits as if they had been acting under the immediate direction of their employer.

It may also be possible for police officers to obtain benefits if they responded to an emergency out of state and suffered injuries. (Some California police officers sought workers’ compensation benefits after being injured responding to the mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.)

While police officers may be able to obtain workers’ compensation, California law allows police officers to recover one year of their full salary. After the one year is up, police officers who still cannot get back to work are eligible for temporary disability benefits.

Injuries That May Result from Workplace Violence

Being shot at or physically attacked could result in various injuries to law enforcement officers, such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Broken bones
  • Ligament damage
  • Internal organ damage
  • Cuts, lacerations or puncture wounds from knives or sharp objects used by criminals as weapons

Police officers could also suffer various injuries while pursuing suspects, such as soft-tissue injuries and back injuries.

Some of the injuries that commonly result in police officers missing work include sprains, strains and tears to the upper or lower extremities.

Who is Considered a Police Officer Under California Law?

California Labor Code 4850 says the following workers are considered police officers:

  • Sheriffs
  • City police officers
  • Employees in a sheriff’s department
  • Park rangers
  • Airport law enforcement officers
  • Police officers working in the Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Harbor police
  • Probation officers at the county level, along with group counselors, juvenile service officers and other employees of the probation office
  • Inspectors, investigators and detectives in a district attorney’s office

Were You Injured in the Course of Your Job? Call Today to Discuss

Our experienced attorneys know how devastating a work injury can be on multiple levels, physically, financially and emotionally. We have assisted many injured workers as they pursued workers’ compensation benefits to help them through such a difficult time.

There are no upfront fees for our services, and we do not get paid for representing you unless you receive compensation.

We are here to help by answering your questions and managing your claim if you decide to hire our firm.

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

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