The public in southern Maryland and across the United States generally holds certain occupational groups and activities in special esteem.
It is unsurprising that polls on the topic routinely place teachers and school principals at or near the top of “most respected” compilations. The same is true for doctors and nurses, mentors for young people, advocates for senior citizens, and people who are simply generous about volunteering their time in a community-enriching manner.
First responders, too, rank high in the public’s estimation of people who make real sacrifices while rendering critically important services in the towns and municipalities where they serve.
Candidly, their contributions are notable and immediately apparent, aren’t they?
Consider an ambulance whizzing by en route to a sudden emergency. It is staffed with paramedics and other specially trained personnel singularly equipped to make life-altering decisions in a moment and act calmly and effectively under chaotic circumstances.
Firefighters are another prominent case in point. Those individuals – men and women alike – routinely put their health and lives at risk when helping others in dire straits.
And, of course, police officers go about their jobs daily subject to inherent risks that can quickly expose them to work accidents and injuries.
How are the nation’s first responders protected in instances when they suffer workplace injuries?
Maryland’s workers’ comp regime for first responders
Some Maryland readers of this blog post might think that first responders in the state are differentiated a bit from the general public when it comes to on-the-job injuries.
They are right. One authoritative online source addressing first responders and work-related injuries duly notes that fact. It stresses that Maryland first responders and police officers “are entitled to additional workers’ compensation benefits that are not necessarily available to other Maryland workers who suffer injuries on the job.” Those include these entitlements:
- Enhanced rate of compensation
- Payment for hypertension (i.e., high blood pressure)
- Compensation for heart disease
- Compensation for cancers linked with work activities
No reasonable person will begrudge an individual who routinely faces outsized workplace risks those entitlements.
Here’s a key point to note concerning the benefits, though: There’s no certainty they will accrue in a given case.
What might threaten a first responder’s work comp benefits?
The overriding answer to the above header query is obvious, namely, an insurer’s refusal to recognize them. Coverage providers routinely challenge work-derived compensation claims, even when they are made by first responders acknowledged to possess some special benefits.
The bottom line for a first responder or any other individual seeking to collect compensation for a work-linked accident or injury spotlights a narrow and direct focus. That is the need for any challenged worker to timely solicit help from an empathetic, aggressive and experienced workers’ compensation legal team.