Volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect the lives of others, and do so without pay. New York workers’ compensation law requires coverage for these public servants, a fact that many are unaware of. Turley Redmond Rosasco & Rosasco has been helping firefighters and EMTs for more than a quarter century. We can guide you through the system to recover the compensation you deserve. Call the workers comp lawyers at our firm today at 1-877-693-2529.
Volunteer Firefighters Injured in the Line of Duty
All volunteer firefighters and most volunteer ambulance workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for injuries incurred in the line of duty. Spouses and dependents of volunteers who died in the line of duty or because of an illness or injuries suffered in performing those duties are also entitled to benefits.
Firefighters and ambulance workers who volunteered in the rescue, recovery or cleanup efforts after the World Trade Center attack between 9/11/2001 to 9/12/2002 are entitled to compensation for their injuries and lost wages. In addition to Ground Zero, volunteer participants at Fresh Kills Landfill and the barges, piers and morgues that handled debris and bodies are also covered.
What Activities are Within the Line of Duty?
“Line of duty” encompasses a wide range of vital services that help keep our communities safe. In addition to the innately dangerous duties required of a firefighter or EMT, line of duty includes such peripheral duties as traveling to and from an emergency, training for the job, equipment maintenance and fundraising activities. Consult with an attorney if you are unsure whether your injury occurred in the line of duty.
Outside of Work Exception for EMTs
Generally, injuries that occur while off-duty are not covered by workers’ compensation. However, NY law makes an exception for emergency medical technicians who voluntarily, and without expecting any payment, render medical care at the scene of an accident. Even though the EMT is off the clock, the law considers the rendering of aid to arise out of the course of employment and, therefore, injuries that happen while doing so are covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Blood Exposure of EMTs and Firefighters
Any public safety workers, including EMTs and firefighters, who are exposed to blood or other bodily fluids while performing their duties are entitled to coverage under the workers’ compensation program. The public safety worker is covered for diagnosis, care, treatment, medications and determination as to whether the blood was contaminated and whether the public servant was infected with a communicable disease. The term “public safety worker” includes volunteers, such as volunteer firefighters, who officially act in a public safety capacity.
Stress of the Job
Firefighters and emergency medical technicians work under extraordinarily stressful conditions. The workers’ compensation code specifically disallows claims for mental conditions that may arise under the typical stress of these jobs. However, this section should not dissuade an emergency worker who has sustained mental injuries due to unusually stressful events. For example, rescue and recovery workers involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack may have sustained a mental injury due to the extraordinary work-related stress of this unimaginable tragedy.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Workers Comp Lawyers
Did you know you are covered by workers’ compensation as a volunteer emergency worker? Learn more about the benefits you are entitled to receive from the workers comp lawyers at Turley Redmond Rosasco & Rosasco. Your case evaluation is free, so contact us today to schedule a consultation.