Police Officer and Correctional Officer Injuries
Minnesota Law Enforcement Injury Attorneys
Working in law enforcement has a unique set of challenges. It is a physically demanding job that requires you to be able to respond to emergency situations quickly and effectively. This means that you must be able to chase down and grapple suspects, provide emergency medical care, conduct traffic stops in inclement weather, all while wearing a twenty to thirty pound duty belt.
At Osterbauer Law Firm, we understand that police officers and correctional officers who are injured in the line of duty have their own set of challenges and concerns when it comes to work-related injuries. Unfortunately, there are no “time-outs” that can be called when officer is put back on the street or the cell block and still feeling the effects of a work-related injury. Before being cleared for “full-duty,” it is crucial that an officer is recovered enough to be able to physically defend themselves and others should the occasion arise. Attorney Ashley Biermann has represented hundreds of police officers and correctional officers over the years and understands the nuances and politics involved in these claims and she will work hard to get every benefit to which you’re entitled—both with regard to workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS.
Common Injuries in Law Enforcement:
- Duty belt injuries. Law enforcement officers frequently sustain injuries to their low back and/or hips from wearing the heavy duty belt. These injuries occur over time from getting in and out of the squad car, sitting for long periods of time on patrol, and from performing physically strenuous duties such as grappling with suspects—all while wearing 20-30 pounds of gear around their waist. If you are a police officer with soreness in your back or hips, your duty belt is likely the cause of your ongoing discomfort and your claim is likely compensable under Minnesota workers’ compensation.
- Motor vehicle collisions. Police officers spend more time on the road than almost any other profession. In addition, when they are on the road, they are patrolling in inclement weather and in dangerous areas. Police officers are expected to drive at high rates of speed to respond to emergencies quickly. All of these factors place police officers at an increased risk of sustaining injuries during a motor vehicle collision. These injuries are covered and compensable under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Law, and you may have additional benefits available to you in civil court.
- Posttraumatic stress disorder. Police officers and correctional officers put themselves in harm’s way everyday to serve and protect their communities. Police officers and correctional officers often see the very worst of humanity—such as fatal accidents, suicides, overdoses, serious assaults, domestics, and death scenes. It is therefore unsurprising that they are uniquely susceptible to developing posttraumatic stress disorder. The Minnesota Legislature recognizes this fact and recently adopted a presumption into the law, which indicates that if a first responder is diagnosed with PTSD, it is presumed to be caused by their work duties. Law enforcement officers with PTSD are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
- Hearing loss. Police officers are constantly exposed to loud noises, including sirens, gun fire, and alarms. Overtime, this can cause a marked hearing loss for clients. Under workers’ compensation, if your hearing loss is at least partially attributable to your work as a police officer, you are entitled to receive hearing aids, medical treatment, and even wage loss for your injury.
- Training injuries. Law enforcement officers must participate in mandatory trainings every year, which may include use of force, defensive tactics, or other specialty trainings. Due to the physically strenuous nature of these trainings, many injuries occur during the course of trainings. Injuries sustained at training are common and compensable under workers’ compensation.
- Heart attacks. Cardiovascular disease disproportionally affects law enforcement officers when compared to the general population. According to the American Heart Association, the average age of a police officer who has a heart attack is 49 years old, compared to 67 years old for civilians. The main reason for this difference is stress. Law enforcement officers face stress levels that most of cannot relate to, and as such, these claims are compensable under the workers’ compensation laws.
- Serious injury/death. Unfortunately, the risk of serious injury, and even death, is prevalent in law enforcement. Each year many officers are killed in motor vehicle collisions, from gunfire, assault or during training exercises. Many more police officers die each year from suicide or heart attack. If a police officer dies in the line of duty or by suicide or heart attack, his or her family may be entitled to significant benefits from workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS.
Workers’ compensation is designed to cover these types of injuries and many more; however, many times, employers and insurance companies will deny claims, in hopes that you will give up and not go after the benefits you’re entitled to. It is important that you have someone on your side who can help you navigate the workers’ compensation system and get you access to the benefits that you deserve.
Contact Attorney Joe Osterbauer After an In-the-Line-of-Duty Injury
Joe Osterbauer’s is an experienced workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS disability attorney. He has handled hundreds of law enforcement cases and understands the interplay between workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS disability claims. Attorney Joe Osterbauer will ensure that you understand your rights and help you determine the best option for you and your family.
Call Joe Osterbauer for a free and confidential consultation or contact us online today for a free initial consultation.