How ambulance drivers, EMTs and paramedics in Arizona can obtain their workers’ compensation benefits
Emergency medical services (EMS) workers, which include emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics and ambulance drivers, provide life-saving care to an estimated 22 million patients each year. Yet sadly, the risk of injury and fatality these heroes face on a daily basis often goes unnoticed.
The truth is EMS workers face higher occupational injury rates than the general workforce. More than 22,000 EMS workers are treated in emergency rooms for work-related injuries each year, and these injuries result in 3 times more lost workdays compared to workers in other professions, on average.
If you were hurt as an EMT, ambulance driver or paramedic in Arizona and want to ensure that you receive the maximum possible workers’ compensation benefits, then contact the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski. For 45 years, we have provided timely, dedicated representation to thousands of severely injured first responders all across Arizona—including paramedics, firefighters and police officers.
Workers’ compensation is all we do, and we do it well.
Without professional representation, many injured workers fail to receive the justice and compensation they deserve.
When an EMS worker is hurt on the job, workers’ compensation benefits may be awarded. We’ve represented first responders and their families for 45 years.
If you were seriously injured as an EMS, EMT, paramedic or ambulance driver, discuss your rights with our workers’ compensation attorney. There’s no initial consultation fee to discuss your case with our experienced worker injury attorneys, and no upfront fees if you decide to hire us to represent you. You only pay if we are successful in obtaining benefits for you.
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Common EMS injuries
As with other first responders, EMTs and paramedics experience higher injury and fatality rates than many other professions. Common types of on-the-job injuries experienced by EMS workers include:
- Back and neck injuries
- Hand and finger injuries
- Multiple traumatic injuries
- PTSD and emotional trauma
- Leg and foot injuries
- Punctures, cuts and lacerations
- Sprains and strains (overexertion)
- Toxic exposure
A majority of injuries are caused by slip and fall accidents, exposure to toxic substances, motor vehicle collisions, patient violence and repetitive movements.
How to prevent EMS workplace injuries and death
To prevent workplace injuries and exposures for EMS workers and all employees, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends the following safety practices:
- Keep workers safe by promoting policies, programs and activities encouraging safety, health and well-being in the workplace. Establish a workplace that supports healthy eating, exercise and good sleep habits. Give workers access to mental health services and encourage the use of these services.
- Train workers on how to safely handle patients. Make patient handling protective equipment available and train workers to use this equipment on-scene. Instruct workers on how to properly lift and transport equipment and patients without hurting themselves.
- Avoid slips, trips and falls. Show workers how to locate and prevent fall risks. Implement policies requiring workers to wear proper footwear that is slip-resistant.
- Protect workers from being exposed to toxic substances, blood and other body fluids. Establish a detailed plan to address exposure control and properly train employees to follow safe procedures when handling or disposing of potentially infectious substances. Provide the necessary PPE to keep workers in compliance with industry standards.
- Prevent motor vehicle injuries. Set policies that require workers to wear seat belts in ambulances and prohibit the use of cell phones when behind the wheel (texting and driving). Make sure equipment can be properly secured in the patient compartment and driver cab.
- Reduce risk of patient violence. Implement risk management policies that prevent workplace violence injuries caused by patients such as de-escalation and self-defense training.
Bob Wisniewski gets the Arizona Court of Appeals to reverse the trial court’s decision. The trial court at the Industrial Commission of Arizona originally denied benefits to a police officer for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They held that the officer failed to file his claim within 1 year on the basis he “knew or should have known” he had PTSD. Wisniewski argued on appeal that the standard requires a medical diagnosis of a condition, not a layman’s perception. The court agreed and reversed the decision of the Industrial Commission of Arizona.
This court decision is significant, not only for this officer but for all first responders. Post-traumatic stress disorder often takes a long time to manifest its symptoms, and this now helps first responders who timely file after a medical diagnosis.
Compensation for paramedics injured in the line of duty
As with most employees in Arizona, EMS workers are entitled to certain workers’ compensation benefits if they get hurt on the job. If they are tragically killed in a fatal work-related accident, their surviving spouse and family may seek benefits for their loss.
If they’re injured in the line of duty, injured paramedics, EMTs and ambulance drivers can seek compensation from their department to help cover the costs of a work-related injury or illness. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and disability
- Death benefits (in the event of a work-related fatality)
In addition, first responders are also entitled to benefits for mental health conditions such as PTSD and depression if it can be proven that it arose during the course and scope of their employment. These benefits aren’t widely available to all workers, and have only been made recently available for Arizona first responders.
In fact, a decade ago, attorney Bob Wisniewski was responsible for litigating the first police PTSD case acknowledged by Arizona law at the Industrial Commission of Arizona. Since then, Wisniewski has successfully represented police, firefighters and other first responders in their PTSD claims and has become a nationally recognized attorney expert in the prosecution of these complex workers’ compensation matters.
How to file an EMS workers’ compensation claim
After your work-related injury or illness, you should immediately report the incident to your supervisor and seek medical attention. Inform the health care provider that you were hurt in a work-related accident.
Next, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who has represented EMS workers and first responders before. They can help guide you through the process in the most efficient and effective way.
Like all workers’ compensation claims, EMS work injury claims must be filed with the Industrial Commission of Arizona within 1 year from the date of the injury. If your claim is denied, you can appeal to the Industrial Commission to have an administrative law judge review the case.
Read more: How to Apply for Workers’ Comp
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Certified workers’ compensation specialist under the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization
Questions and answers about compensation for a job-related accident, injury or illness in Arizona
Arizona Workers’ Compensation GuideFREE E-BOOK
What do you do if you’re injured on-the-job? Our free guide contains knowledge to help the injured worker understand the workers’ compensation application process.
Mr. Wisniewski has been recognized as the premier workers’ compensation lawyer in Arizona. He is the only claimants’ attorney recognized as a Fellow of The College of Workers’ Compensation.
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Let our Arizona workers’ compensation attorneys help you
EMS workers put their lives and safety on the line every day for their patients, and they should be properly compensated when that duty results in a work-related injury or illness.
At the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski, we stand by EMTs, paramedics and ambulance drivers—and their families—to help them secure the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve.
We can help you file an injury claim with the Industry Commission of Arizona and fight to appeal a denied claim if necessary. We’re prepared to use our experience, expertise, resources and passion to make sure you get the compensation you’re owed.
Why hire our Arizona workers’ comp lawyers?
- We understand the special needs of an injured worker
- Trained and helpful staff
- Personal attention to clients
- Calls promptly returned
- Clients kept up-to-date on case
- State-wide service
- Aggressive & experienced representation
- Hablamos español
While our main law office is in downtown Phoenix, we handle workers’ compensation claims throughout Arizona – including Yuma, Kingman, Payson and Flagstaff.