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Special workers’ comp benefits for California firefighters

Firefighters face danger daily for a living. They run toward burning structures, respond to emergency incidents and undergo training exercises to improve their abilities. In keeping the public safe, they are at an elevated risk of sustaining injuries or dying. In 2021 alone, a nationwide report reveals 141 firefighter fatalities while on duty.

California recognizes firefighters’ selfless commitment to protect people and properties. So, the state grants workers’ compensation coverage for injuries on the job. Unlike other workers, firefighters also receive additional benefits.

Firefighters have unique protections

Due to the hazardous nature of their work, firefighters often suffer from injuries, such as burns, and develop illnesses, such as cancer and lung damage. In these instances, they can seek financial relief for their medical bills and obtain disability benefits.

On top of mandatory coverage, per the state’s Labor Code 4850, city, county and district firefighters with active fire prevention duties are eligible for special benefits.

These unique protections include a one-year full salary when they cannot return to work due to their condition instead of getting disability benefits worth only a third of their income.

By default, the law also presumes their injuries are a result of doing their jobs. So, employers have the burden of proof if they want to dispute a compensation claim.

Also, these special benefits extend to volunteers and police officers, who are just as in constant peril trying to serve their communities. However, these policies do not apply to workers who are not in active law enforcement.

Firefighters also need someone to fight for them

Firefighters stand in the line of fire to save lives. But when their physical and financial well-being are at stake, they need support too. A legal team can help them in filing timely and accurate paperwork to pursue their claims. Doing so can prevent unjust settlements for their injuries and other losses.