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For Injured Workers
Workers’ Compensation for First Responders/EMS Workers
Emergency medical services (EMS) workers, including first responders, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, police officers, firefighters and nurses, have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. While risking their own lives to keep others safe, they are regularly exposed to job-related risks and hazards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 21,900 EMS workers were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for work-related injuries and illnesses in 2016 alone.
If you were injured on the job as a first responder/EMS worker, the knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. can help you recover maximum benefits for your injury.
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Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Proudly Represent First Responders
Job Hazards and Risks
According to a study conducted by the NHTSA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on EMS work-injury emergency room visits, some types of injuries are more common among EMS providers than other workers. These include injuries due to body motion such as repetitive stress injuries and lifting injuries; exposure to harmful substances; slips, trips and falls; motor vehicle accidents; and workplace violence. The following are some of the most common job hazards and risks associated with first responders/EMS workers:
Assault (workplace violence): First responders often do not know what they are about to encounter when they arrive on the scene. Intoxicated or combative patients may become violent and hit, kick, punch or bite EMS workers when they are being restrained or treated.
Blood-borne pathogens: Sick patients may spit or cough up bodily fluids, exposing EMS workers to blood-borne pathogens such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), especially when the worker is not wearing the proper face mask or other personal protective equipment (PPE).
Chemical exposure: First responders may be called to the scene of overdoses, traffic stops and arrests that involve dangerous drugs such as fentanyl, a synthetic opioid; breathing in or handling this dangerous chemical can cause serious harm or death. Firefighters are also regularly exposed to fire and toxic smoke.
Hearing loss: First responders/EMS workers are often exposed to high noise levels for extended periods of time. This can result in hearing loss and other conditions like tinnitus, which causes ringing in the ears.
Lifting injuries: This is the most common type of injury among first responders/ EMS workers. Transferring or carrying patients can cause workers to suffer from lifting injuries such as back and neck sprains and strains.
Needlestick injuries: There are approximately 800,000 needlestick injuries in the U.S. each year, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Contributing factors to this type of injury are using traditional needles without safety features, fast-paced work environments, and inadequate training.
PTSD: First responders may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because they often witness traumatic events such as violent crimes, catastrophic accidents, and natural disasters. Symptoms may manifest not only emotionally but also physically in the form of fatigue, high blood pressure, and ulcers.
Vehicle crashes: EMS providers often treat patients in the back of ambulances, which are traveling at a high rate of speed.
Types of Benefits
As a first responder, you are entitled to medical, wage loss, rehabilitation, disability, and death benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. You may also be entitled to benefits under the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act as well as other benefits programs. The experienced compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. can help you determine which benefits you qualify for, so you can get the maximum compensation for your injury or illness.