Public Service and Workers’ Compensation

Public Service and Workers’ Compensation

Every day safety officers risk their safety and their lives to help protect the community.  These safety officers include police, sheriffs and their deputies, highway patrolmen, and firefighters.  These people are in dangerous jobs and are more likely than most members of the public to sustain a work-related injury.  These safety officers have special entitlements and protections under the California labor code.


In most circumstances if an employee sustains a work-related injury, he or she will be able to recover temporary total disability benefits.  These benefits are available up to two-thirds of the employee’s salary, according to the limits that existed at the time the employee sustained the injury.  However, in the case of a safety office who sustains a work-related injury, according to California Labor Code 4850 he or she is entitled to disability payments of up to a year’s full salary, free from any income taxes, while he or she is temporarily totally or permanently disabled as a result of the work-related injury.  If a safety officer remains disabled after the year is over, the safety officer is still entitled to receive temporary total disability benefits at the standard state rate, even though the full salary is no longer paid.


Safety officers also have protection in that there are certain “compensation presumptions” that apply to them in certain circumstances.  This means that there are particular conditions and illnesses that will be presumed to fall under workers’ compensation laws.  Labor Code 3212 provides that for particular safety workers, the term “injury” shall include any hernia, pneumonia, or heart trouble that develops while the worker is in the service for their unit.  The compensable award for these injuries include full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, and other certain benefits.  These safety officers would include firefighters, sheriff’s deputies, members of the district attorney investigative unit, and fish and game wardens.  It should be noted that clerical staff are excluded from these protections. Firefighters are also afforded special protection for cancer diagnosis when the safety officer can demonstrate he or she was exposed to a known carcinogen during his or her service to the unit.  Safety officers also qualify for special protection when contracting tuberculosis or MRSA.

If you have questions about workers’ compensation and your business, contact me today at (714) 516-8188 to discuss them.  You need an experienced attorney to help you understand this process.

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