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Work Injuries and Workers’ Comp a Concern for First Responders

Goldstein Heslop Steele Clapper Oswalt & Smith Dec. 10, 2021

In Pennsylvania, any job can be dangerous with workers at risk for suffering injuries and fatalities. Workers’ compensation is an important factor for these workers to make ends meet after they have been hurt and for families who have lost a loved one in a work-related accident. It can cover for lost income, medical expenses and more. However, being approved in a workers’ comp claim can sometimes be challenging. For many workers, there are inherent dangers with the jobs they do. First responders are at the forefront of placing themselves in jeopardy as part of the job.

Seeking improved laws for their safety is key for them. These workers should be cognizant of how to get approved for workers’ comp if they are injured even as they advocate for and wait as lawmakers debate the steps they think will help them. Local first responders have started a petition for lawmakers to improve the laws protecting them. It has accrued at least 5,500 signatures with more expected. The first responders who started the petition are preparing to present it to lawmakers at the state and federal levels.

The petition was spurred by the death of a paramedic just after the new year. The worker, 43, was hit by a truck on the interstate as he was working an accident scene. It was not the first such accident to injure or kill a first responder. Other first responders believe the accident was preventable. The man who is the behind the petition wants action instead of discussion. Some of the goals include a better warning system for oncoming vehicles, reduced speed limits when there is an accident, and harsher penalties for those who violate the law.

Other possible solutions include emergency vehicles having cameras that will catch and allow violators to be cited. Although Pennsylvania already has a law that mandates drivers reduce speed and move over for an emergency scene and emergency vehicles, it is frequently disregarded. Tow truck operators are also taking part in the movement for safer roads for first responders.

This petition is designed to help with worker safety, but it is also critical to consider it in the context of the potential hazards first responders face every day. Even if the laws are strengthened, the chances of a work injury and death will still be in place. Workers’ comp benefits can pay for lost wages, medical expenses, permanent injuries and death. Knowing how to be approved for workers’ comp and to be protected from employers and insurers who might try to reduce the payments is essential. A law firm experienced in helping with workers’ comp may be able to assist with a claim.