Nevada police officers and firefighters have special workers compensation laws. As a way of honoring our first responders, Nevada lawmakers have made workers compensation more inclusive and generous for our police officers and firefighters.
The main categories of injury covered by special workers compensation for law enforcement and firefighters includes:
- Contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, and HIV
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
Some limitations apply, including the length of time that the police officer or firefighter has been employed.
Workers compensation for police officers and firefighters offers a lifetime benefit of testing and treatment for contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis A, and HIV. Other conditions, such as as cancer, must appear within five years after the last day of work as a police officer or firefighter in order to qualify for full workers compensation benefits.
Police officers and firefighters have an easier time receiving benefits for contagious diseases, cancer, heart and lung disease than other Las Vegas workers. Lawmakers have crafted workers compensation laws that recognize the inherent risks of taking work in law enforcement or firefighting. Police officers and firefighters risk their lives in order to protect the public and deserve the benefit of the doubt in regards to their work-related injuries.
How are police officers and firefighters exposed to Hepatitis A?
Police officers and firefighters are exposed to physical contact with the public on a daily basis. They restrain aggressive or inebriated people, move unconscious people from danger, and interact with a wide range of the public. Hepatitis A comes from contact with an infected person.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver. The liver functions as an internal blood cleanser, removing bacteria, alcohol, drugs, and naturally-occuring waste substances in the blood. Hepatitis A is an infection and inflammation of the liver.
Hepatitis A is spread from feces (poop) to mouth. Even slight or casual contact with a person who has traces of feces on their skin can infect another person. Skin-to-skin contact with another person who has not washed their hands thoroughly is a common way for Hepatitis A to spread. A person can also contract Hepatitis A after eating food contaminated with the virus or by touching blood from a person who has Hepatitis A. Handling or receiving a prick from a contaminated needle may also spread Hepatitis A.
Police officers and firefighters are at risk from contracting Hepatitis A through each of these transmission routes. In order to do their jobs, they accept the risks of close contact with many people who are at high risk of carrying Hepatitis A:
- Persons who use illegal drugs
- Persons who are homeless
- Persons who suffer mental health challenges
Do police and firefighting staff who work desk jobs have special access to workers compensation?
No, police and firefighting staff who work desk jobs do not have the same access to workers compensation as officers who are working with the public. For example, a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police workers comp case for a law enforcement officer would look different than it would for a dispatcher or administrative staff member.
As another example, if a firefighter files a workers comp case involving neck pain that has developed over several years on the force, she does not have to prove that her case is work-related. The presumption is that the neck pain is work-related because of her line of work.
On the other hand, the administrative assistant who does the scheduling for all the Henderson firefighters is employed by the Fire Department, but is not considered a firefighting officer. If she develops neck pain after five years of employment, she would need to provide evidence of a causal link between her job and her neck pain in order to receive workers compensation benefits.
Examples of those who would receive special consideration in firefighter or police officer workers compensation cases include sheriffs, park wardens, game wardens, highway patrol officers, fire marshalls, and certain investigators and forensic specialists. Any questions about whether your work position or your time of service qualify you for special workers compensation benefits should be directed to an experienced workers compensation attorney near you.
What special consideration to police officers and firefighters receive in regards to their workers compensation claims?
Workers compensation claims from workers who are not police officers or firefighters require that the claimant (i.e., injured person) prove that their injury was work-related. Injuries and contagious diseases suffered by police officers and firefighters, on the other hand, are assumed to be work-related without requiring evidence.
If contested, the burden of proof would fall to the insurance representative, not to the police officer or firefighter. For a police officer or firefighter, the initial presumption is that the injury or disease was work-related. For other workers, no such presumption exists and the worker would be tasked with proving that their injuries and diseases are work-related.
For more questions about injuries you have sustained while working as a police officer or firefighter, seek the counsel of an experienced Las Vegas workers’ compensation attorney.