Why are fire fighter officers unique in the Maryland workers' compensation system?
The State of Maryland affords fire fighters, paramedics, EMTs, greater benefits than almost all other Maryland workers, due to the inherent risks and stress involved on the job. Fire fighters, paramedics and EMTs receive a much higher rate of benefits and a presumption that certain occupational diseases are covered.
What are some compensable injuries for Fire Fighters, Paramedics, EMTs?
- Accidental injuries
Most injuries that occur while on the job are compensable, regardless of fault. Many fire fighters sustain accidental injuries, which are covered by workers' compensation during calls, on the fire grounds, or while engaging in physical training. It includes any type of strain or injury as well as burns or hernias.
- Occupational Diseases
An occupational disease, such as hypertension, heart disease, and lung disease, as well as many cancers, is defined under the Maryland Workers' Compensation Act, as the natural result from working under conditions inherent in the job. Many of these diseases are, therefore, presumed to be compensable because of the unique stresses and strains, as well as unique exposures of the job. They are therefore compensable under workers' compensation law. Likewise, hearing loss, PTSD and other gradual diseases are covered as well.
What are the benefits of filing a claim?
- Full payment for medical treatment from the doctor of your choice for life
- Weekly pay while you are unable to work
- Compensation for permanent disability, even if minimal and you can return to your job
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits if you cannot return to your job
- Reimbursement for prescriptions and necessary medical equipment
- Reimbursement for mileage, parking for doctor visits, therapy and tests
What should I do if I am injured or unsure if I have a compensable claim?
First notify a supervisor that you are injured. Seek medical treatment, but never give a recorded statement to an insurance company; it could be used against you in the future. Then call an attorney you can trust, who has experience dealing with these unique issues and who will help you with your claim, from filing through appeal, if necessary. Do not delay in seeking advice from an attorney. Many injuries, including occupational diseases, have a time limitation on when you can file a claim. If you wait you may no longer be able to file a claim. Filing a First Report of Injury with your employer is not sufficient; an Employee Claim Form must be filed separately with the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission to be considered timely. Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP have been serving fire fighters, paramedics, and EMTs for decades. A fee is never collected unless you are compensated for your injury.