Accepting the responsibilities of a police officer means accepting unusual risks and exceptional stresses. Due to the crucial roles and special hazards of such employees, Maryland law makes special provisions for police and other public safety employees in its worker’s compensation laws.
Defining a public safety employee
If you’re a law enforcement officer employed in Maryland at any level of government, state law probably categorizes you as a “public safety employee.”
There are exceptions and stipulations, but this category generally includes police officers employed by municipalities, counties, the state, the Airport Authority, the Park and Planning Commission and Metro Transit.
Employees doing what the public less frequently associates with policework are also included, such as State correctional officers, courthouse security, prisoner transportation, personnel management and other administrative workers. Many firefighters, paramedics and others are also considered public safety employees.
Presumptions of occupational disease
Many serious medical conditions are difficult to assign to any particular cause. Proving that they’re related to your work under a certain employer or in a specific task can often be close to impossible.
However, some medical conditions, such as heart disease and hypertension, are so common among certain public safety professionals that Maryland law reverses the usual burden of proof. In such cases, it’s up to the employer and/or the insurance company to show that the medical problem is not caused by the job.
The state matches specific positions and conditions, such as Lyme disease among DNR law enforcement. Not every condition mentioned in the statute is presumed to be caused by any public safety employment.
Other provisions raise the amount of compensation for public safety employees in several ways. The statutes can be dense, and the true range of possibilities is tough to determine. An attorney experienced in Maryland law enforcement worker’s compensation may be valuable in determining your eligibility and best approach to securing the compensation you’re owed according to Maryland law.