Law enforcement officers and other first responders in North Carolina willingly put themselves in harm's way every day. It is a fundamental part of their job and one they willingly accept. With that, there can be injuries. They can happen for various reasons whether they are in the middle of a risky situation or are simply driving their work vehicles. As with any work injury, there can be lost time on the job, medical expenses and problems returning to their condition before the accident. It is important for these workers to understand the process for workers' compensation benefits.
An accident between a driver who was allegedly impaired and a law enforcement officer injured the officer. The accident occurred in the late evening not long before 11 p.m. The officer, 37, is a corporal in his local department. He was in a marked Ford Explorer when he made a turn with a green turning signal. The DWI driver was in a Lincoln Navigator heading the opposite way. That driver went through the red light and hit the passenger side of the law enforcement vehicle.
A can of pepper spray in the vehicle burst open on impact. The officer was hospitalized for his injuries and because of the exposure to pepper spray. The driver of the Navigator fled, but a call was made to police about a damaged vehicle in the parking lot of an ice cream shop. After responding and investigating, a 37-year-old man was placed under arrest for DWI. The damage to his vehicle was consistent with the accident involving the officer. There are other charges pending. The investigation is ongoing.
Workers' compensation benefits are available for first responders just as they are for people in other types of employment. As with any work accident, it may be important to have professional help to ensure the maximum benefits are approved. Since police officers and firefighters are facing danger every day, it is wise to know how to approach a workers' compensation case from their perspective.
There could be auto accidents, shootings, assaults, slips and falls, firefighters who are injured in a floor collapse, burns, back injuries and more. The injuries can not only result in medical costs, but impact the person's ability to perform the physical, mental and emotional requirements of the job. Having guidance with the process in receiving benefits and getting the maximum available for the appropriate amount of time may be complicated. Having guidance from the start is essential.