Police officers face the risk of injury and death each day. Most people associate a workers’ comp claim for a police officer with an accidental injury in the line of duty, such as injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident or while apprehending a suspect. However, some police officers develop heart disease related to their jobs. The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Code has special provisions for police officers who develop heart disease or hypertension.
Police officers diagnosed with heart disease or hypertension may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. The Pinder Plotkin Legal Team provides free case reviews for law enforcement officers who have questions about filing a workers’ comp claim for heart disease.
Presumption of Occupational Disease for Police Officers
Police officers have extremely demanding jobs. They deal with high-stress situations on a regular basis. Because of the demands placed on police officers, lawmakers acknowledged that police officers might develop heart disease as a result of the highly-stressful nature of their jobs. Therefore, lawmakers included a provision in the workers’ comp laws that make heart disease a presumed occupational disease for police officers who meet certain restrictions.
The code states that heart disease is a presumed occupational illness if:
- The police officer suffers from heart disease or hypertension; and,
- The heart disease or hypertension causes the police officer to suffer partial or total disability or death.
Some police officers working in certain departments may have additional requirements that must be met for the heart disease to be presumed an occupational disease.
Because the heart disease is presumed to be an occupational disease, the police officer is entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits. It is up to the employer and the workers’ compensation carrier to refute the presumption that the heart disease is a work-related occupational illness.
However, a presumption that your heart disease is related to your work as a police officer is not a guarantee of payment of workers’ comp benefits. There are several reasons that the insurance provider or your employer may raise to deny your workers’ comp benefits. You should see a doctor immediately if you experience any signs of heart disease and consult a Maryland workers’ comp lawyer to discuss your legal rights regarding workers’ comp benefits.
What Type of Workers’ Comp Benefits May I Receive if I Develop Heart Disease Because of My Career?
If you are diagnosed with work-related heart disease, you are entitled to receive reasonable and necessary medical care. Once it is determined that you have an occupational illness, the workers’ comp insurance company pays for your medical care. You are also entitled to reimbursement of your travel expenses, medications, and medical supplies related to the condition.
You may also be entitled to receive either temporary partial disability benefits or temporary total disability benefits. When you are unable to work, temporary total disability benefits cover a portion of your lost wages. Your average weekly wages and other factors determine the amount of your benefits. If you are only able to work a limited number of hours, temporary partial disability benefits compensate you for some of the lost wages.
In some cases, an officer may decide to use sick leave so that he can receive his full rate of pay instead of the reduced payments under workers’ compensation laws. Your Parkville workers’ comp attorney will review all your options to help you determine which option is best in your situation.
Permanent Disability Benefits
If you are unable to return to work because the heart disease results in partial or total disability, you may be entitled to permanent disability payments. The amount you can receive for permanent disability payments depends on several factors, including your rate of disability, the type of disability, and your average weekly wage.
Police officers who are disabled because of heart disease are entitled to a higher payment compared to civilian workers with the same condition. An attorney can review the offer from the workers’ comp insurance company to ensure that the amount is correct. If you suffer a partial disability, you may also be entitled to compensation even though you did not sustain a total disability.
Don’t Wait To File Your Maryland Workers’ Comp Claim for Heart Disease
Even though police officers who are retired may succeed in filing a workers’ comp claim for heart disease that developed during their employment, it is always best to file a claim as soon as possible. A Maryland workers’ comp attorney can review your case at no charge and help you seek workers’ comp benefits for heart disease.
Contact Pinder Plotkin LLC at 410-661-9440 to schedule your free consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney in Parkville.