Fire can be quite dangerous, especially when you breathe in toxic gases, thick smoke, and lack oxygen. But as deadly as fire is, firefighters in Maryland risk their lives daily to save residents and properties. For this reason, the law allows them to get workers’ compensation for the injuries suffered on the job.
Some of these injuries are physical, while others are termed occupational diseases. While firefighters’ protective gear keeps them from being burned, the nature of their job and the heavy lifting it requires, cause other injuries. This article focuses on the most common injuries sustained by firefighters in Maryland.
Our Maryland firefighters and EMTs work comp lawyers can help you get the maximum compensation if you are a firefighter with a work-related injury or illness. In addition, we offer excellent legal guidance.
How Common Are Firefighter Injuries?
Firefighters in Maryland work in varied and complex environments, leaving them open to different forms of hazards. Unfortunately, the hazards could cause injuries or on-the-job deaths. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NPA), in 2018, an estimated 58,250 firefighters suffered injuries in the line of duty. The number, however, is a 1% decrease from 2017.
The NPA also reported that in 2017, an estimated 47,150 firefighters were exposed to hazardous conditions such as asbestos, radioactive materials, chemicals, and fumes. Furthermore, firefighters are more likely to get injured at fireground operations than other work duties. In 2018, 22,975 injuries (39 percent) occurred at the fireground.
The number is a 65% increase from the year 2017. In addition, 4,150 firefighters sustained injuries while responding to or returning from fire incidents in 2018. An additional 8,175 firefighter injuries occurred during training activities, and 11,325 happened during other on-duty activities.
What Are the Common Injuries Sustained by Firefighters in Maryland
Firefighters throughout the State of Maryland and the United States suffer similar work-related injuries. These injuries can occur on firegrounds, at the fire station, or while responding to or returning from a 911 call. According to the NPA, major injuries suffered at firegrounds are strains and sprains, and they accounted for 38% of all injuries in 2018.
Smoke or gas inhalation accounted for 13% of injuries. In addition, firefighters suffered wounds, cuts, bleeding, bruises, and thermal stress from frostbite or heat exhaustion. Most of these injuries are caused by overexertion, strain, falls, jumps, or slips. Aside from getting these fireground injuries, firefighters in Maryland sustain broken bones, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, neck injuries, dislocations, soft tissue injuries, etc.
Firefighters sustain the preceding wounds when they get involved in a traffic accident. The NPA notes that in 2018, an estimated 14,425 collisions involved fire department emergency vehicles responding to or returning from a fire incident. These injury records show that firefighters rarely suffer burn injuries.
This is most likely due to the protective gear firefighters wear when fighting fires. Thus, a firefighter in Maryland would only suffer a burn injury if they fail to wear their gear properly. Consequently, this failure would affect their work comp claim for the burn injury.
Can an Injured Firefighter in Maryland Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act grants certain benefits to firefighters who get injured while on the job. These benefits are usually higher than what a person would receive under general work comp laws. This is because the Workers’ Compensation Act believes firefighters, EMTs, and law enforcement officers are more at risk than other civilian workers.
However, it is noteworthy to state that the Workers Compensation Act emphasizes occupational diseases or illnesses more than physical injuries. This importance is predicated on the belief that the nature of firefighters’ work makes them prone to certain health risks and medical conditions. These conditions are different types of cancers, high blood pressure or hypertension, and heart disease.
Furthermore, the act does not do away with the requirement of an injury being work-related. Once the injured firefighter can prove their injury happened on the job, they are entitled to disability benefits, like temporary disability benefits. If the injury results in a permanent partial disability, the person would get periodic payments based on the severity and location of the injury. You can contact our Maryland work comp attorneys for more information.
Are You an Injured Firefighter in Maryland? Let Pinder Plotkin LLC Help You!
With much emphasis on occupational diseases for firefighters than work-related injuries, you might find it hard to get compensation for your wound. However, you can make the process easier by working with our Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers at Pinder Plotkin LLC. Our lawyers have the experience and legal knowledge to prove your claim and win. Call today for a free case review.