Cal Fire 2881 Conference 2022 | Work Comp Claims

Updated: January 27, 2022



My firm attended the Cal Fire 2881 conference this year.  The last time we were at the conference was 2020; obviously the pandemic kept us from the in-person conference.
As an attorney who specializes in safety personnel, one of my favorite activities is attending the various conferences my safety clients attend.  The reason is that I get to talk to people (who aren’t my clients) about their questions on work injuries.

Most people have a lot of misconceptions on workers’ compensation, so these interactions are great to dispel some of those misconceptions.

One of the common issues that I deal with is my safety personnel are not ones to admit they’re injured.  That is the culture and my firefighters definitely fall into that group.  My joke with my clients is that they have a “tape an aspirin to it” and/or “rub some dirt on it” and “call it good” mentality.  I really respect that level of toughness.

The downside to this is by the time my Cal Fire clients come to me, they have some serious disability, because they don’t stop working until they literally can’t function.

This is important to understand, because when I speak with people at the conference, I can explain options to people.  These explanations help people make choices on their body and their careers.  

If you are physically unable to perform your job (this includes taking medication on a daily basis just to do your job), you may be eligible for a medical retirement [industrial disability retirement (IDR)].  This matters because if you have 20 years of service and your intent was to work 25 years and are not physically able to make it to 25 years, then
IDR could bridge that retirement income gap for that disability.

The point that I make to my safety personnel (especially my firefighters) is don’t put yourself in a wheelchair or using a cane for the rest of your life because you are trying to make a certain retirement goal.  Your family and your health is more important.