Jersey County Police Officer Injury Attorney

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Most employees who are injured on the job can find coverage through workers’ compensation benefits, whether or not they take on a certain level of risk in their daily work. There are several industries that face a higher risk of injury and fatality, including first responders like police officers. When these people are injured in the line of duty, a Jersey County police officer injury attorney can help them seek avenues for compensation.

Police officers frequently are first to the scene of an emergency, such as car accidents, domestic violence calls, and other dangerous or violent situations. Law enforcement officers, even when not responding to urgent or emergency situations, may still face injury from long-term exposure to hazards or repetitive motion. Police officers are also impacted by stress and other mental strain.

Law enforcement officers, when they are injured on the job or face long-term illness or conditions due to their work, can receive workers’ compensation like other employees. Public servants, including police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers, are also eligible for additional benefits under state law.

If you are a law enforcement officer who was injured during your career, there may be multiple benefits available to you, even if you were not injured while on duty. It’s important to work with a Jersey County police officer injury attorney who understands the nuances of the benefits for your field of employment. A claim or request for these benefits is more likely to be successful when you have a legal professional by your side.

Common Injuries for Police Officers on the Job

There are many situations that cause police officers serious and potentially catastrophic injuries while they are on duty. These injuries can be minor and require only a little recovery time, or they can be disabling injuries that impact an officer’s ability to return to work for years. Some common injuries that law enforcement officers sustain include:

  • Strains and sprains
  • Lacerations
  • Hearing loss
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Injuries from physical assaults
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Injuries from on-the-job car accidents
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Repetitive motion stress injuries
  • Slip-and-fall injuries
  • Developmental diseases from hazardous material exposure

These injuries can cause officers to require months away from work to recover while accumulating medical bills and rehabilitative care costs. It’s important to determine how to get the most out of the benefits available to you as a police officer so that you can maintain financial stability and provide for yourself and your family during your recovery.

When these injuries are fatal, surviving families of police officers may also be able to obtain benefits through workers’ compensation or other programs provided for public servants. They may also be able to file for a wrongful death claim when another party was at fault for their loved one’s death.

How Workers’ Compensation Benefits Work for Police Officers

Nearly all employees in the state are covered by workers’ compensation insurance when they are injured while on the job site or completing duties for their work off-site. Most police officers in the state can benefit from workers’ compensation, except those employed in Chicago. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act excludes public servants who work in cities with populations greater than 500,000.

Police officers in the rest of Illinois, such as Jersey County, should be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ compensation insurance system protects employers and employees by providing officers with financial stability as they recover from injuries and shielding employers from civil claims from injured employees. The benefits from workers’ compensation claims include:

  • Medical bills, current and future
  • Rehabilitative care
  • Vocational training
  • A portion of lost income
  • A portion of lost earning capacity

There are other routes available for first responders who need benefits. By working with a qualified attorney, you can determine what benefits can maximize compensation for your injury or developmental condition.

State Benefits for Injured First Responders

Illinois has passed laws to provide extra benefits to first responders due to the immense physical and mental impact of being a first responder and/or public service employee. Qualifying employees include:

  1. Firefighters
  2. Police officers
  3. Corrections officers
  4. State mental health facility employees
  5. Department of Human Services employees

State benefits for first responders and public service employees include:

The Illinois Pension Code

Under these codes, first responders can obtain benefits for a disability or injury, even if it was not caused by their job duties. If law enforcement officers are disabled or injured and unable to return to their work, they can receive pension benefits, which are a portion of their salary. This protects first responders who were injured off duty.

The Public Employee Disability Act (PEDA)

PEDA provides public service employees with financial protection in response to the inherent hazards of their jobs. Employees in cities with more than 1 million people cannot receive PEDA benefits. These financial benefits are for qualifying employees who are injured while in the line of duty.

If the employee is unable to return to work, PEDA benefits provide them with their full salary for up to 1 year. This is a significant difference from workers’ compensation or pension benefits, which only provide a portion of the employee’s income. There are other benefits, such as protection against losing service credits, sick leave, or paid time off while the employee is not on duty.

There are some limitations to PEDA benefits. Employees receiving PEDA benefits cannot work while receiving benefits, and they cannot receive any other form of public benefits. Employees must also undergo a medical exam. For many law enforcement officers, PEDA compensation is incredibly beneficial for themselves and their families. A knowledgeable attorney can determine if you are eligible for these benefits as an injured officer and ensure that you follow the proper laws so as not to jeopardize your eligibility for the benefits you need.

The Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (PSEBA)

PSEBA benefits are for first responders and their families when first responders suffer from catastrophic injury or fatality under specific circumstances. These benefits include employer-funded medical insurance for a first responder and their family for the rest of the first responder’s life. The employee’s children receive benefits until they turn 18, or until they turn 25 under certain circumstances. If the first responder dies, their spouse receives the medical insurance benefits until they remarry.

The injury must be sustained while in the line of duty, caused in one of the following situations:

  1. In response to fresh pursuit
  2. In response to an emergency or what can reasonably be believed to be an emergency
  3. An illegal action by another party
  4. While investigating criminal actions

The injury must be fatal or catastrophic to qualify for PSEBA benefits. The definition of a catastrophic injury is that it is debilitating and prevents an individual from engaging in typical daily functions or from seeking or maintaining gainful employment.

Police Officer Injury Third-Party Claims

In unique cases, an injured police officer may be able to file a personal injury claim. If another individual or party’s negligence was the cause of the accident, such as if a defective firearm part caused a malfunction or explosion, or the officer was involved in an on-the-clock traffic accident, they may be able to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim. An attorney can review the value of each claim and other state benefits to determine what will maximize earned compensation.

Third parties who may be held at fault include:

  • Property owners
  • Manufacturers
  • Product distributors
  • Drivers
  • Any negligent or reckless parties who owed a police officer a duty of care

Personal injury claims can be more difficult than applying for other benefits or workers’ comp, as they require another party to be at fault. The benefit of filing a personal injury claim is that the officer may be able to obtain noneconomic damages and full wages.

How Does a Police Officer Injury Lawyer Help Me?

It can be very beneficial to your claim or benefits application to work with a qualified attorney. There may be many state, local, and federal laws that apply to your occupation, injury, and benefits. An attorney understands these complex issues and can determine how they impact your situation. Your attorney can review your case to determine the benefits that you qualify for and which options give you the most effective benefits.

If you are a police officer filing a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim, your attorney can effectively calculate the damages that should be covered by a claim. Attorneys are experienced with these cases, meaning that they can more accurately guess the long-term complications of your injuries and the applicable financial compensation. If a claim is denied, your attorney can help appeal the decision or find other methods to cover your damages.

Work With an Experienced Jersey County Police Injury Attorney

Law enforcement officers provide a necessary service to the public, and they place themselves in significant danger while doing so. Joshua R. Evans, Attorney at Law, wants to provide injured officers with the respect and care they deserve. If you have been injured or disabled on or off duty, there may be options for you to receive benefits. Our firm can guide you through the process of applying for these benefits while advocating for your right to the compensation you deserve. Contact our team today to learn how we can help.

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JERSEY COUNTY

105 N.State Street
Jerseyville, IL 62052

phone: (618) 498-0001

fax: 618-266-2845

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