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few firefighters go through their entire career without ever hav- ing a work related injury. They work 25 or 30 years, retire and move on to the next stage living a happy and healthy post-career


life. I truly wish that for every young firefighter who comes onto the job. Yet, I know that will probably not be the case. Many firefighters suffer at least one injury on the job that results in time off from work, extensive medical care, including surgery and sometimes resulting in permanent disability from the injury. Even though they return to their usual and customary duties, they never fully recover and continue to suffer from the lingering ef- fects of the injury. Some firefighters in-


cur several injuries throughout their career many of which are simply reported to their captain without any request for treat- ment. The firefighter hopes the injury will resolve so they continue working in their regular assignment without any loss of regular and overtime pay. Then there are those who seem to have no luck whatsoever and suffer injury after injury, resulting in protracted time off from work and re- peated surgeries. Finally, there is the firefighter who doesn’t


pursue any type of workers’ compensation action for injuries suffered throughout his/her career but as they near the end of the line, their body is physically exhaust- ed and they now need to seek medical care. Where do you fit within these scenarios? How


should you protect yourself throughout your career so that you are taken care of when an injury occurs? Should you report each and every injury or incident that occurs or should you wait until you are ready to retire to file one claim to cover the ailments that were caused by the job? This article will try to answer these questions and offer


simple advice on what steps you should take to ensure you are properly protected. I have represented firefighters for more than 30 years and I have seen each scenario described. I’ve also met with firefighters who are thoroughly prepared with documentation when they come in to see me and also fire- fighters who don’t have one piece of paper about any injury sustained on the job. Hopefully you aren’t the latter and here is how to avoid being that person.


34 • July 2015


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