As a police officer, firefighter, or other public safety worker, you are treated somewhat differently than other employees under Virginia’s workers’ compensation laws. The logic behind the system is sound: You are dedicated to protecting the public, often putting your own life and interests at stake to provide for your community. You should have certain advantages if you suffer from a work-related injury or ailment.
One of the key factors for public safety employees in workers’ comp claims is that they enjoy certain legal presumptions when it comes to job-related occupational diseases. As a result, the regulations are more complicated than the workers’ compensation laws that apply to workers in the private sector. Your Virginia workers’ compensation attorney can address the challenges, while a general explanation of the presumption for public safety workers may be helpful.
In the practice of law, a presumption means that a fact is assumed to be true without additional evidence by the party that asserts it. For workers’ comp claims by public safety employees, Virginia law provides a presumption that certain medical conditions are the result of work-related tasks. You could benefit from this presumption, which means you’re more likely to get workers’ comp benefits, if:
As a result of applying the public safety worker presumption, you do not have the burden of proof to show that your medical condition is a direct result of your job. Instead, the presumption is effectively your proof. It can only be overcome by a rebuttal from your employer’s workers’ comp insurer.
Every case is different, but some common arguments the insurer may present are:
If you developed an occupational disease and believe your medical condition is associated with your work as a public safety employee, it is important to consult with experienced legal counsel right away. Though you enjoy a presumption, you can expect a rebuttal from your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company, which puts your benefits at risk. For more information, please call Hampton Injury Law PLC to schedule a no-cost case evaluation with a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney today.