Firefighters know their jobs contain several risks. If you are a firefighter, you want to ensure access to workers’ compensation benefits for short-term and long-term injuries.
However, a significant portion of firefighters in California are volunteers. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, volunteer or mostly volunteer fire departments make up 55.4 percent of all departments in the state. Keep reading to learn more about your worker’s compensation options as a volunteer firefighter.
Employers do not have to cover workers’ compensation for volunteer employees for most professions. However, if you are a volunteer firefighter, you have a legal exception. California considers emergency response volunteers to be employees, thus qualifying them for some form of workers’ compensation insurance. To ensure your receive compensation for injuries sustained on the job, report your damage to the fire department immediately. The Division of Workers’ Compensation looks more favorably on cases that began with a prompt response.
The amount you should receive
Once you report the injury to your department, you should receive payment for any wages lost due to wounds sustained in the line of duty. However, do not expect to get the typical two-thirds salary that full-time employees receive. The standard compensation for volunteer firefighters is the average weekly wage for California workers. If you do not qualify for workers’ compensation as a volunteer, contact an experienced lawyer to fight for your case.
Volunteer firefighters are essential to the safety of residential and business districts. You put your lives on the line, and you deserve compensation for injuries sustained on the job. Establish immediate communication with your department in the event of bodily harm, and remember your legal rights to receive payment.