Public safety workers such as police officers, firefighters, and other first responders are subject to slightly different rules than other employees under Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation (VWC) system. For good reason, public employees who dedicate their lives to maintaining order and keeping others safe should enjoy certain protections if they are injured in the workplace. One important feature that workers’ comp laws offer to these workers is that they are granted presumptions regarding occupational diseases that are common in their area of work. Though there are advantages to gaining a legal presumption, the VWC regulations do not provide a guarantee that public workers qualify for benefits. By working with a Hampton workers’ compensation lawyer, you can eliminate the hassles and potential denials.
In legal terms, a presumption is a fact that is assumed to be valid without actual proof of its validity. In the workers’ compensation statute, there is a presumption that certain types of employees do not need to offer additional proof of designated work-related medical conditions. Some occupational illnesses tend to accompany the difficult job of the police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), so they get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to:
The result of using a legal presumption for public employees is that the burden of proof moves to the employer and/or workers’ compensation insurance company to show why the worker would not qualify for benefits. These entities could establish this level of proof through a rebuttal, such as by presenting evidence that:
Generally, legal presumptions can act in your favor, but it is especially difficult to overcome those related to the last injurious exposure. These time periods are less subjective, so it is important to take action right away when you become aware of an occupational condition.
If you developed a medical condition and believe that it is related to your employment as a police officer, firefighter, or first responder, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Because opposing parties will try to protect their own interests in arguing against the legal presumptions, you need a knowledgeable advocate on your side. Please call Hampton Workers’ Compensation Law at 757.838.1136 to set up a free evaluation of your case. You can also reach Mr. Hoen for more information about your claim.
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