First responders are an extremely valuable part of a functioning society and they save multiple lives every year. They can remain calm during a crisis and often take the reins in an emergency to coordinate a response. Unfortunately, first responders assume more risk for injury and illness than the average American worker.
Is this additional risk simply part of the package? Or does an employer have a requirement to keep staff members safe from clear hazards? If this obligation isn’t met, what recourse does the employee have? Here’s what you should understand.
Look Into Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers who were injured or contract an illness at work shouldn’t bear financial responsibility for lost wages or medical care — this is why workers’ compensation exists. If you became ill or were injured at work during the course of normal job-related activities, you should report the incident and file for workers’ compensation right away.
Did Your Workplace Violate Safety Requirements?
If your employer did not meet their obligation to prevent harm to their staff from apparent hazards, this may be a clear example that they’ve breached their duty of care. Should your employer have known about the hazard, or do you have proof that they did? You may be able to hold them liable for your illness or injury in a court of law.
Create a File of Your Medical Records
Your medical records are critical to your case. Obtain multiple copies of all records from any provider who treated you for your injury or illness, and keep them in a file in a safe place.
Consider Negotiating a Fair Settlement But Litigate in Court if Necessary
Initially, you and your lawyer will make an attempt to agree on a settlement with the person(s) who caused your illness or injury. Initially, the first settlement offer may be too low. If this happens, your options are to agree to that settlement, make a counteroffer, or litigate. During litigation, you’ll go to court and a judge will hear both sides of the issue. Then, they’ll reach a verdict and if the judge agrees the defendant is responsible, what a full and fair settlement should be.
Reach Out to an Experienced Attorney After a Work Injury
As a first responder, your employer has a duty to keep you and other employees safe from known hazards. If your employer has failed to do this, we can help. Contact Chalker Injury Law today for more information at 1-800-393-8595.