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Correctional Officers

Fresno Correctional Officers

Correctional officers in California have a dangerous job that often puts them in high-risk and life-threatening situations. When a Fresno correctional officer suffers an injury in an on-the-job accident, he or she may be entitled to special benefits provided by California’s workers’ compensation system.

Handling a workers’ compensation claim on your own can be difficult. Many people are unfamiliar with California’s Labor Code and the benefits provided to California’s state workers. If you are a correctional officer in Fresno and suffered an on-duty injury, contact Berry, Smith & Bartell for experienced legal representation. Our Fresno workers’ compensation lawyers will provide you a free, confidential consultation to help you understand the benefits you may be entitled to receive. We know how to properly file workers’ compensation claims and will assist your through every step of the process. If you believe you have been wrongfully denied the benefits you deserve, we will help you file an appeal to reverse the insurer’s decision.

Our accomplished legal team has more than 130 years of combined professional experience and has helped numerous types of workers pursue the benefits they need after suffering an on-the-job injury. Firm partners Wm. Todd Berry, Jaime L. Smith and Timothy D. Bartell are all members of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA). Bartell also serves as the Current President of the CAAA Central Valley Chapter. We have the skills and determination you need to pursue the full amount of benefits you may be entitled to receive. When working with our firm, you will not be charged upfront for our services. We only require payment if we help you receive benefits for your claim. There is no risk in contacting us to find out how we can help you.

Call 1-800-848-6288 today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

On-Duty Injuries Suffered By Correctional Officers

Employees of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation are at risk of suffering work-related injuries due to fatal and non-fatal hazards. This may include transportation accidents, assaults and other violent acts from inmates, exposure to illnesses and overexertion.

The American Correctional Association (ACA) found that correctional officers are at a high risk of suffering the following types of work-related injuries:

Transportation Incidents

The ACA found that transportation-related events were one of the leading causes of work-related fatalities among correctional officers.

Correctional officers are often required to travel with inmates while they are transported to another detention facility. Frequently traveling puts correctional officers at risk of suffering an injury during an auto accident, such as:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Fractured bones
  • Whiplash
  • Internal organ damage
  • Burn injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Wrist injuries
  • Bruises
  • Chest injuries

Overexertion

Overexertion occurs when the pressure of a repetitive or strenuous task strains your muscles and tendons. Correctional officers may suffer injuries due to overexertion during the normal course of their duties. This may include lifting heavy objects, restraining inmates, bending at the waist while twisting, or pushing, pulling or reaching for heavy materials.

If a correctional officer suffers from overexertion, he or she may be at risk of suffering injuries such as:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Repetitive-trauma injuries
  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Tendon tears
  • Muscle strains
  • Fractured bones

Inmate Assault

Because inmates and correctional officers are in frequent contact with each, correctional officers are often at high risk of being assaulted by inmates. When this occurs, correctional officers may suffer serious or life-threatening injuries, including: 

  • Puncture wounds
  • Fractured bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Contusions
  • Abrasions
  • Hand and wrist injuries
  • Soft-tissue damage
  • Burn injuries
  • Firearm-related injuries

At Berry, Smith & Bartell, we understand the dangers correctional officers in Fresno face when working in detention facilities such as Corcoran State Prison, Avenal State Prison, Valley State Prison and Pleasant Valley State Prison. We are dedicated to helping injured correctional officers obtain the compensation they need after being injured on-duty. Our attorneys will carefully examine your injury and medical and employment records to help you find out the full amount of workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to receive.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to learn how we can help you.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available to Fresno Correctional Officers

In California, correctional officers are insured for any work-related injury or illness by the State Compensation Insurance Fund. This is a state-run insurance system that covers employees’ expenses for treating a work-related injury or disability and provides partial compensation for income lost while an employee is recovering.

The State Fund offers several types of benefits for Fresno correctional officers who suffer work-related injuries, including:

Medical Expenses

The cost of medical treatment for correctional officers who are injured on-the-job will be covered by the State Fund. This includes the cost of your doctors’ visits, medical tests and imaging scans, medications you may be prescribed, medical assistive equipment, and any rehabilitation you must undergo to recover from your injury.

Temporary Disability Benefits

California employees may be entitled to receive temporary disability benefits (TDB) if they suffer an on-the-job injury that prevents them from working for three days, causes hospitalization, or if they were the victim of criminal assault, according to CA Labor Code § 4650.5.

TBD is compensation for two-thirds of your lost income for the duration of time your injury prevents you from working. There are two types of TBD benefits correctional officers can receive:

  • Temporary partial disability (TPD): If your injury reduces the number of hours you may work each day or limits the duties you can perform, you may qualify to receive TPD benefits.
  • Temporary total disability (TTD): You may qualify for TTD benefits if your treating doctor determines you are completely unable to work or your employer does not allow you to return to work.

If you qualify for TBD benefits, you will receive the first payment 14 days after your employer learns of your injury. You will receive TBD payments every 14 days for a maximum of 104 weeks or until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), whichever occurs first.

Permanent Disability Benefits

A permanent disability (PD) is any lasting disability from a work-related injury or illness that affects your ability to earn an income. If your treating doctor determines your injury will never fully heal, you may be entitled to PD benefits even if you are able to return to work.

Your treating doctor will assign you a disability rating between one and 100. This is a percentage that estimates how much your disability limits the work you can do or your ability to earn an income. Depending on the disability rating you are assigned, there are two types of PD benefits you may receive:

  • Permanent partial disability (PPD): You will receive benefits for a PPD if you receive a disability rating between one and 99. The percentage you are assigned will be based on the severity of your injury and will determine the amount of benefits you can receive. If you have a PPD, you may receive the total amount of your PD benefits over a fixed number of weeks.
  • Permanent total disability (PTD): If your doctor assigns you a disability rating of 100 percent, you have a PTD. In this situation, you are eligible to receive PD benefits for the rest of your life.

You will begin receiving PD payments within 14 days after the final TD payment. Once you receive your first PD payment, your PD benefits should be paid every 14 days until you reach the maximum amount set by law or when you settle your case and receive a lump-sum payment.

Industrial Leave Benefits

In lieu of TD benefits, correctional officers who are members of the California Public Retirement System (CALPERS) may be entitled to industrial leave benefits (IDL) for missing work due to an occupational injury or disease.

IDL benefits are equivalent to the full amount of the injured worker’s salary for the first 22 days he or she misses due to a work-related disability. Once the 22-day period has ended, you will receive IDL benefits equivalent to two-thirds of your average pay for the next 11 months of disability.

Employees eligible for IDL benefits may receive payments for a period not to exceed 52 weeks within two years from the first day of disability.

Industrial Disability Retirement

Correctional officers may be entitled to industrial disability retirement (IDR) benefits if they suffer a work-related injury that medically qualifies them for retirement. These benefits are provided to California state employees who suffer a work-related injury that is expected to last for 12 consecutive months or will result in the worker’s death.

If you are approved for IDR, you will receive a monthly benefit payment for the rest of your life, or until you recover from your disabling injury or illness.

Death Benefits

If a California correctional officer is killed in the line-of-duty, his or her surviving spouse and dependents may be entitled to death benefits. The decedent’s employer must pay health benefits to the surviving spouse or dependents under the same terms and conditions prior to the officer’s death unless the spouse accepts a lump sum in lieu of month payments, according to CA Labor Code § 4856.

As a correctional officer in California, the amount of death benefits your loved ones may receive depends on the number of dependents you have at the time of your death. Under CA Labor Code § 4702, correctional officers may be provided the following amount of death benefits:

  • One dependent: $250,000
  • Two dependents: $290,000
  • Three or more dependents: $320,000

The correctional officer’s surviving dependents will receive weekly benefit payments of the amount of TD payments the officer would have received. The payments must be no less than $224 per week. Additionally, the correctional officer’s surviving dependents will be provided a payment of up to $10,000 for burial expenses.

Call 1-800-848-6288 to find out how much your claim is worth.

What to Do if Your Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied

Unfortunately, many employees, including correctional officers, are denied the benefits they deserve for a work-related injury. When this happens, you may have the right to dispute the decision by filing an appeal with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB).

To appeal a denied workers’ compensation claim, you must submit an Application for Adjudication of Claim form to the WCAB within one year of either suffering your injury or the last day you received medical or TD benefits. When the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) receives your application, it will send you notice with your case number and directions for how to proceed.

After receiving your notice from the DWC, you are required to complete and submit a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed application to the WCAB. Once the form has been submitted and processed, your case will be scheduled for a hearing. You will have one more chance to settle your claim dispute during a settlement conference before the hearing begins.

Your case will then proceed to a workers’ compensation hearing if you are unable to reach an agreement during the settlement conference. During the hearing, you and your employer’s insurer will present your cases and use evidence to support each side of the dispute. You may also have an attorney represent you during the hearing.

If you are unsatisfied with the hearing’s results, you may file a Petition for Reconsideration with the WCAB. However, CA Labor Code § 5903 states that a 20-day deadline exists to file your petition. The deadline begins on the date you received the notice your claim was denied. If you received your notice of denial by mail, you will have 25 days to file your petition.

After receiving your petition, a seven-member panel with the WCAB will review your claim and each side’s case during the trial. The panel will then decide to approve your claim or deny you workers’ compensation benefits.

Appealing a denied claim on your own can be difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with California’s workers’ compensation laws. A Fresno denied claims lawyer at Berry, Smith & Bartell can assist you in appealing an insurer’s decision to reject your claim or provide you the full benefits you need. We know the process for appealing a denied workers’ compensation claim and will help you pursue the benefits you deserve.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now.

Contact Berry, Smith & Bartell for a Free Consultation

Correctional officers have a difficult job that puts them in harm’s way each day. If you or someone you love has been injured while working as a correctional officer in Fresno, Berry, Smith & Bartell is ready to help you pursue the benefits you need.

During your free, confidential consultation, we will carefully review your injury, medical reports, employment records and any disability you have suffered to find out the workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to receive. If your claim has been denied or you believe you have been provided inadequate benefits, we will explore every legal option to help you reverse the decision.

When working with our attorneys, you will be charged on a contingency fee basis. This means you will not have to pay upfront costs if we represent your claim. You will only be charged for our services if we help you recover workers’ compensation benefits.

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

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