Firefighters and Work-Related Injuries
Firefighters are courageous men and women who risk their lives every day to save others. Individual firefighters selflessly brave dangerous conditions and put themselves in harm’s way for the benefit of those in need. Unfortunately, being a firefighter comes with a unique set of risks and sometimes an on-the-job injury occurs.
Firefighters undergo extensive training prior to being dispatched on their first fire call. However, even the most prepared firefighter is susceptible to injury. In addition to the risk of being severely burned, firefighters are required to respond immediately to dangerous situations such as crime scenes and car accidents. These situations sometimes result in unexpected accidents.
Attorneys for Firefighters with Workers' Compensation Claims
For firefighters and other first responders who are injured on the job, seek out the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney with offices conveniently located in the City of Aventura, serving North Miami and surrounding areas throughout Miami-Dade County and South Florida.
An attorney at The Hoffman Firm can help you resolve your workers' compensation claim by fighting for the best possible terms. Call The Hoffman Firm at (305) 940-2307 today to find out how much your case is worth.
Types of Work Place Injuries for Firefighters
From trip and fall incidents to smoke inhalation and heavy lifting, firefighters face multiple dangers each day. A few of the common injuries firefighters must avoid on a daily basis include:
- Inhalation of smoke and toxic substances
- Vehicle accidents
- Exposure to bodily fluids
- Injury from trauma
- Slip and fall or trip and fall incidents
- Abrasions, cuts, and broken bones
- Head injury (from exposure to debris, etc.)
Occupational Hazards for Firefighters in Florida
The potential occupational hazards for firefighters are abundant and may have various causes, including:
- Biological — Exposure to infectious diseases, contagious diseases, or blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or AIDS.
- Chemical — Combustible products often fuel fires and toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide in smoke can cause lung injuries and other injuries. Hypoxia can result when oxygen levels in the air are depleted, leading to mental confusion and other injuries.
- Ergonomic — Overexertion and exhaustion, especially when fighting a prolonged fire, are common problems. The physical demands of firefighters are extreme. Lifting, reaching, carrying, demolishing, using heavy equipment, and other strenuous and repetitive tasks can take a toll on a firefighter's body.
- Heat Stress — The human body naturally reacts to high heat. In fighting a fire, the heat generated by wearing protective equipment, combined with the heat of the fire and Florida's natural heat and humidity, can become oppressive. Loud noise and visual stress may also affect a firefighter.
- Psychological — Traumatic events such as fires can leave lasting images. The risks and dangers of the job, coupled with the outcomes of fires, especially destructive fires that claim property or lives, can linger.
- Safety — Firefighters risk injury every day. Burns, crumbling buildings, or falling debris can all cause serious injuries. Falls are also common. Sudden ignition resulting in a flashover situation or a backdraft can both have tragic consequences.
Benefits for Firefighters after a Workplace Injury
Firefighters do what they do because they love it. Whether a firefighter receives a salary or works on a volunteer basis, there are benefits available for firefighters and first responders who sustain work-related injuries.
Benefits available to firefighters may include compensation for medical care, lost wage benefits, or monetary settlements. Accessing benefits will help provide injured firefighters with the time they need to recover.
Workers' Compensation Eligibility for Voluntary Firefighters
Florida Workers’ Compensation Law, Section 440.02(16)(b)(3) of the Florida Statutes, states that: “[v]olunteer firefighters responding to or assisting with fire or medical emergencies whether or not the firefighters are on duty” were included within the definition of employment.
In Baxter v. Hog Valley Volunteer Fire Dept., Inc., 669 So. 2d 285 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996), the court found that firefighters who volunteered with the Hog Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., were not volunteers of Marion County, Florida, or employees of Marion County. Therefore, the fire department was not immune from liability under F.S. § 440.11.
Florida Statutes, Title XXXI, Chapter 440, Section 440.091 — Read the portion of Florida's Workers' Compensation laws that apply to firefighters and other first responders injured in the line of duty.
Legal Help for Firefighters Injured on the Job in Miami, FL
At The Hoffman Firm, we appreciate the hard work and dedication firefighters bring to their profession. Our team of knowledgeable legal professionals knows that, as a firefighter, you want to get better and back on the job as soon as possible after an injury.
The Hoffman Firm represents clients throughout the greater Miami metropolitan area, including Aventura, Hallandale Beach, Golden Beach, Sunny Isles Beach, North Miami Beach, and Sunny Isles Beach.
Our focus is helping you get the benefits you deserve so you can get back to doing what you love. If you are a firefighter injured on the job, call The Hoffman Firm today at (305) 940-2307 today to discuss your workers' compensation case.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, May 24, 2016.
Evan A. Hoffman
Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.Read More