The nature of their workplaces police officers in hazardous situations that can result in contracting infectious diseases, suffering debilitating injuries, or losing their life in the line of duty. When police officers are injured or killed, responsible parties can face serious penalties and legal liability.
Officers Injured at Work
Nearly 100,000 police officers suffer injuries in the line of duty each year. These include puncture wounds from needles and knives, contracting infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV, and broken bones from suspects resisting arrest. Officers can also suffer gunshot injuries, traumatic brain injuries in motor vehicle accidents, or strains and sprains that occur because of slips, trips, and falls as they pursue suspects.
Nationwide, cuts and bruises are some of the most common injuries suffered by police officers. These are followed by musculoskeletal injuries. Additionally, many officers suffer post-traumatic stress disorder that results from responding to and investigating everything from homicides to domestic violence.
From 2009 to 2014, an average of just under 31,000 non-fatal injuries that resulted in days away from work were reported by law enforcement agencies in the United States. While the annual number of incidents has declined since 2009, the rates remain significantly higher than other professions. In fact, in 2014, the rate of injury for police officers was 13.5 per 1,000 workers. This was roughly four times the rate of 3.4 per 1,000 workers in all professions.
Police officers can claim workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained on the job. This includes compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and disability payments. Individuals can also pursue compensation for job training assistance if their injuries prevent them from returning to their job. Likewise, individuals can pursue compensation for long-term injuries including those caused by toxic chemical exposures and work conditions that can take years and even decades to manifest.
In instances where a police officer dies in the line of duty or as the result of a work-related toxic exposure such as HIV or Hepatitis C, surviving family members can pursue death and funeral benefits. When a police officer is injured in Nevada, whether the police officer works in the sheriff’s department, LVPD, Reno PD, or other agency, a police injury lawyer can help the officer and their family members file workers’ compensation claims and pursue personal injury lawsuits against the responsible parties.