Firefighter Workers Compensation – PTSD & MSD Injuries
The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation recently requested the RAND Center for Health and Safety in the Workplace to compile a study of workers compensation claims for firefighters. While the report mainly focused on physical injuries, it also included claims for post-traumatic stress disorder, and came up with a surprising conclusion: the reported incidents of developing PTSD after a physical trauma is actually lower in firefighters than in those of other professions. While the authors speculated that the numbers may be skewed due to the perceived stigma associated with mental health conditions, it was nonetheless an interesting statistic to consider.
Understanding the frequency and severity of firefighter musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) has become more urgent due to changes to the California workers compensation system in the past decade. The adoption of a new disability rating system, regulations regarding apportioning disability, new treatment guidelines, and caps imposed on the number of physical therapy and chiropractic services all have a potential negative effect on the ability of firefighters to receive treatment for MSDs.
Firefighter MSD Injuries & Workers Comp
Due to the nature of the job, it is not surprising that firefighters are more prone to receiving MSDs than workers in other professions. This reinforced findings of a previous study that contemplated the frequency, nature and outcomes of firefighter injuries in California, emphasizing MSDs, and especially those located in the lower extremities and trunk. The California study compared firefighters’ injuries to those of police officers, other public sector employees and private sector employees with similar job responsibilities.
In fact, these reports show that nearly half of the injuries – 47% – sustained by firefighters are MSDs. This is quite a bit higher than MSDs reported by police officers (38%), other public sector workers (37%) and private sector workers (42%).
In response, there have been some legislative changes in the form of Senate Bill 863, which was enacted in 2013 and significantly increased available benefits for firefighters and other similarly injured workers.
Firefighter PTSD & Workers Comp
Part of the study focused on the relationship between firefighter injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To compile the data, the authors looked at diagnosis codes and requests for reimbursement for prescriptions that would indicate a relationship between MSD injuries and PTSD. The surprising results indicated that firefighters with MSDs seldom request either treatment or permanent disability benefits for PTSD or other psychiatric conditions. The report noted that it is possible that workers may seek treatment for PTSD outside of the workers compensation system.
Authors of the study are concerned that the stigma associated with mental health issues, including PTSD, could lead to the patterns observed by the report. They opined that additional research and the collection of more data would provide a clearer picture as to why firefighters and police officers are less likely to seek treatment for PTSD and other psychiatric conditions through the workers compensation system.
California’s workers compensation system is ever-evolving organism, and it is important to keep abreast of current trends, studies and legislation. Cantrell Green, an Orange County firm specializing in workers compensation, understands the importance of following these trends closely in order to best serve our clients. We are available to assist you if you have been injured in the course of your employment. Give us a call to schedule your free consultation to see what benefits may be available to you.
The report is The Frequency and Economic Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders for California Firefighters, and may be found on The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation website.
Firefighter Workers Compensation Attorneys – Orange County
If you or a loved one is a firefighter who has been injured or made ill in the line of duty, our experienced lawyers are here to help you get the Workers Compensation or disability benefits that you deserve.
The Law Office of Cantrell Green is a group of highly qualified, experienced Orange County workers’ compensation attorneys who have obtained millions of dollars in workers’ compensation and disability benefits for hundreds of safety officers, including police officers, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies.
Orange County Firefighter Workers Compensation Consultation: 800-964-8047
Disability & Workers’ Compensation for Injured Safety Officers
Police, Sheriff’s Deputies & Firefighters
Our skilled lawyers have successfully obtained workers’ compensation & disability benefits for police and sheriffs employed by the following departments:
- California Highway Patrol (CHP)
- Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
- Orange County Sheriff’s Department
- San Diego County Sheriff’s Department
- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
- Ventura County Sheriff’s Department
- Police Departments in L.A. (Click for List)
- Local Police Departments in Orange County
Our skilled lawyers have successfully obtained workers’ compensation & disability benefits for firefighters employed by the following fire departments:
- Los Angeles County Fire Department
- Orange County Fire Department
- San Diego County Fire Department
- San Bernardino County Fire Department
- Ventura County Fire Department
- Local Fire Departments in L.A. (Click for List)
- Local Fire Departments in Orange County
- Other Local Fire Departments
The California legislature has granted injured safety officers unique benefits under California Workers’ Compensation Laws, in recognition of the unique hazards of their jobs and their inherent importance to society. Unfortunately, these benefits are not automatically available and may be denied if the injured safety officer does not protect their workers’ comp rights beginning the moment they are injured or ill.
Free Lawyer Consultation for Injured Safety Officers
An injured California safety officer should not be lulled into a false sense of security, believing that certain types of injuries or illnesses are “automatically” covered because of their safety officer status. Many times deserving police officers and firefighters are unfairly denied workers compensation benefits.
The worker’s compensation laws that apply to a disabled police officer, sheriff deputy or firefighter are unique and very specialized. The specialized lawyers at the Long Beach law firm of Cantrell Green are among only a very few attorneys across California that are specialized in safety officer workers’ compensation claims.
No Attorney Fees Until Our Lawyers Win For You
If you have been made disabled while working as a police officer, firefighter or sheriff’s deputy in Orange County, the greater Los Angeles area or anywhere in Southern California, we offer a free consultation with an experienced California lawyer to help you understand your rights and obtain the maximum workers’ compensation or disability benefits that you deserve.
The experienced and compassionate lawyers at the Southern California Law Firm of Cantrell Green will handle your workers’ comp case or disability case with the individual care & aggressive representation that ensures you receive the benefits you deserve, as one of California’s valued public safety officers.
Free Safety Officer Consultation: 562-622-4800
Serving: Agoura Hills, Alhambra, Altadena, Anaheim, Arcadia, Avalon, Baldwin Park, Bel Air, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Canyon Country, Carson, Castaic, Century City, Cerritos, Chatsworth, City of Industry, Commerce, Compton, Conjeo Valley, Costa Mesa, Culver City, Downey, Duarte, Eagle Rock, East Los Angeles, El Monte, El Segundo, Encino, Gardena, Garden Grove, Glendale, Hawthorne, Hemet, Hermosa Beach, Inglewood, Huntington Beach, Inland Empire, Irwindale, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, La Puente, Laguna Hills, Lakewood, Lancaster, Lawndale, Lomita, Long Beach, Los Angeles County, Lynwood, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Marina Del Rey, Maywood, Melrose, Fairfax, Mission Hills, Monrovia, Montebello, Monterey Park, Montrose, Newhall, North Hollywood, Northridge, Orange County, Oxnard, Palmdale, Palos Verdes, Paramount, Pasadena, Pico Rivera, Porter Ranch, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rancho Santa Margarita, Redondo Beach, Reseda, Rolling Hills, Rosemead, San Diego, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel, San Marino, San Pedro, Santa Ana, Santa Clarita, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Monica, Simi Valley, South El Monte, South Gate, South Pasadena, Stevenson Ranch, Studio City, Sylmar, Temple City, Thousand Oaks, Toluca Lake, Topanga, Torrance, Universal City, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Ventura County, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Westlake Village, Westminster, Whittier, and Woodland Hills.