City Law Enforcement
We focus our representation on city law enforcement located in California.
Why Are Workers' Compensation City Law Enforcement Cases Different?
City law enforcement cases work injuries are different than regular workers' compensation cases. Workers' compensation injuries can impact a person's ability to work, and this can raise retirement issues.
Regular workers' compensation benefits may not be the only consideration in cases involving city law enforcement employees.
- Jason Wells, Attorney At Law
For example: We had a corrections officer (who is also a state safety employee like a city law enforcement) who decided to retire based on general health. The majority of health problems were caused by the job and were found work-related. Either way this client was going to retire through service retirement and didn't even know about Industrial Disability Retirement (IDR). My suggestion was that they apply for Service Retirement pending IDR. If denied, they'll still be where they started. If approved, IDR is a significantly better option. This client would have never known about this benefit. Most workers' compensation attorneys don't even see the issue. That is why these cases are different; they raise different issues.
Full Salary in Lieu of Temporary Disability
Based on Labor Code 4850, city police officers, city probation, or employees applicable under Penal Code 830.31 who are employed full-time are entitled to leave of absence benefits while disabled without a loss of salary in lieu of temporary disability payments. That is, the employees are paid their full salary following an industrial injury, rather than the two-thirds paid for temporary disability. The benefits are paid for a period not exceeding one year. If the disability continues beyond one year, regular temporary disability is paid out as normal for the remainder of the disability
The courts have also held that public safety workers who perform some of the duties of law enforcement officers or safety personnel, and who assume some of the physical and emotional risks encountered by the covered employees are entitled to benefits under LC 4850.
Industrial Disability Retirement (IDR)
Industrial Disability Retirement (IDR) is a benefit available to city law enforcement employees (whose essential job functions are considered safety) who are medically eligible for retirement because of a work related injury.
Essential Job Functions
Understanding city law enforcement employees' essential job functions can be critical to multitude of issues both in the workers' compensation system and other benefits provided by CalPERS. In safety cases, having an understanding of your essential job duties or your HR departments' job description on your safety position can be a critical part of handling multiple issues in your case. We recommend you obtain a job description from your HR department and review it to ensure that it accurately reflects your job duties; then provide a copy to your physician who is to assess your ability to do the job.
City police officers with injuries involving heart, pneumonia, tuberculosis, lower back, meningitis, blood borne illness, cancer, MRSA, and biochemical exposure are given special consideration by workers' compensation courts.
The heart presumption is a critical one to understand, because heart conditions often go undetected. Our recommendation is that before any corrections employee leaves their job either through change in circumstance or retirement, they have their doctor schedule an echocardiogram (EKG) and EBCT Heart Scan to make sure the heart is functioning properly, especially if the employee has had a history of hypertensive disease. If not, the heart presumption can help get you workers' compensation benefits if there is undetected symptoms.