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  1. #1
    Forum Member dfd3dfd3's Avatar
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    Default City not honouring injury claim

    Our city is trying to fight an injury claim saying the injury wasnt job realted. what happened was a guy was walking down the stairs to go wash the pumper while on shift, in the firehouse and they are trying to say he couldve hurt himself like that anytime so it isnt covered. I was just wondering if you have ever had you city try to weasle out of an onjry claim like this. Saying something a guy was doing wont be covered because they couldve got hurt doing the same thing at home. We do alot of things for the city that arent specifically fire related but i would think if u are doing anything in the fire house while gettin paid by the city it would have to be job related. I may be wrong. I would like to hear from your experiences on this, thanks


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    Default Sounds like they should be

    Worker Compensation law is not the same in all states. In Montana anyone can file a claim if they feel the injury is work related. The carrier investigates and decides to accept or deny each claim. Weíve even had comp claims paid if the employee or volunteer slipped in the parking lot after getting off shift. I would recommend checking with your insurance carrier or the State agency that controls the insurance carriers.

  3. #3
    Forum Member FiremedicMike's Avatar
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    Its funny you mention that. We just had a similar discussion while we were visiting a nearby station which happens to be a different fire department. Apparently things like this happen all the time there..

    Case - A senior firefighter is in the bathroom shaving. All of a sudden comes down with chest pain, decides to have the medic crew on station take him to the ER. Fortunatly, it ended up being nothing, after the whole ER eval, they sent him home. The city denies the claim. Their reason - Since he was in the bathroom, he was on break, thus not on duty, this it was not a line of duty injury

    Case 2 - A firefighter is in the john, straining hard to... evacuate himself.. when he vagals down, passes out, falls over, and cuts his head on the toilet paper holder. The firefighter goes to the ER and gets stitches. City denies the claim, again stating that since he was in the bathroom, he was on break.

    Can you believe that crap?!

  4. #4
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Default

    Originally posted by ffspo0k
    Its funny you mention that. We just had a similar discussion while we were visiting a nearby station which happens to be a different fire department. Apparently things like this happen all the time there..

    Case - A senior firefighter is in the bathroom shaving. All of a sudden comes down with chest pain, decides to have the medic crew on station take him to the ER. Fortunatly, it ended up being nothing, after the whole ER eval, they sent him home. The city denies the claim. Their reason - Since he was in the bathroom, he was on break, thus not on duty, this it was not a line of duty injury

    Case 2 - A firefighter is in the john, straining hard to... evacuate himself.. when he vagals down, passes out, falls over, and cuts his head on the toilet paper holder. The firefighter goes to the ER and gets stitches. City denies the claim, again stating that since he was in the bathroom, he was on break.

    Can you believe that crap?!
    I guess that in that department, if a call comes in and you are siting on the throne, showering, taking a leak or shaving, then you don't have to go...you are on a "break".

    Unfortunately, I do beleive the crap that goes on. We have a situation in my department that involves changing sick to leave to an IOD status (the nature of his illness is covered under the presumptive cancer laws, the jakehas made a full recovery and is back at work...what is as stake is his sick leave buyback for his retirement, and he is close to retirement time). In this case, the City and the Administration can't make a decision (and for God's sake I hope they make the correct one in favor of the firefighter) and keep "passing the buck". The matter is now in the hands of our Local's attorney.

    Any type of injury that happens while on FD duty, whether it be a slip or fall, strains, sprains, lacerations, etc. should be documented and reported to the OIC. Cross all the t's and dor all the i's! A lot of firefighters like to think they are "tough" and just try to shake it off, bandage oneself, etc. It's those types of injuries that can come back an haunt someone later in their career.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    dfd, Let me try to help here.

    I am an Occupational Health Technician in the great state of Illinois.

    Meaning I deal very heavily in work comp. Illinois is a very employee friendly state. Your co-worker has a very strong case provided he reported everything on time. I would suggest he get an attorney, because the city WILL try to get out of it. I wish him luck.
    Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

  6. #6
    Forum Member dfd3dfd3's Avatar
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    Default

    The city ended up turning down his claim stating that it ws due to his own clumsiness that he got hurt and he wasnt directly doing a assigned task (although i tripped going down stairs to go do an assigned task). They say that u can trip anywhere and on your time off too. My thing with this is we do alot for the city that we dont have to. such as mow the grass, minor station repairs and upkeep etc... Know these arent directly Fire tasks so will these be covered if i sprain an ankle mowing the grass or walking to get the mower?

  7. #7
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    Default

    Do firefighters not have a "job description"? If so, wouldn't this task come under "cleaning and upkeep of vehicles and equipment" or something like that?? I can't believe that washing the pumper is not part of regular duties .... who do they think wash the trucks and the floors and the bathrooms and the dishes etc etc etc?

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  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber jthomas's Avatar
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    Default

    Originally posted by dfd3dfd3
    The city ended up turning down his claim stating that it ws due to his own clumsiness that he got hurt and he wasnt directly doing a assigned task (although i tripped going down stairs to go do an assigned task). They say that u can trip anywhere and on your time off too. My thing with this is we do alot for the city that we dont have to. such as mow the grass, minor station repairs and upkeep etc... Know these arent directly Fire tasks so will these be covered if i sprain an ankle mowing the grass or walking to get the mower?
    Like posted elsewhere, this guy needs a good attorney, NOW. I do not know how standardized workman's comp is from state-to-state, or if his union contract has some type of weird language in it regarding injuries and breaks, etc (disclosure: I'm a vol, non-union. However I do work for a living!).
    I do know that when I worked in SC, if you slipped and fell going to work, or at work (regardless of the incident's relationship to your job description) it was a recordable accident and covered under workman's comp. Even an MVA ON THE WAY TO WORK is considered a recordable incident (don't know where WC is on that). It sound to me like the city is yanking him around big time.

    Cleaning the rig is part of his job, I suppose, and the station is constructed so that he had to go down stairs to get to the rig to do his job. I'm no lawyer, but I can't imagine a good attorney not being able to slug this one out of the park! If not workmans comp, then the city was negligent in allowing an unsafe work condition to exist. A number of angles to play.....
    J

  9. #9
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm no lawyer, but I can't imagine a good attorney not being able to slug this one out of the park! If not workmans comp, then the city was negligent in allowing an unsafe work condition to exist.
    Are you sure you're not a lawyer? How do you know there is an unsafe work condition existing? Sounds like a lawyer to me.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  10. #10
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    If he was on the clock it is work-related.
    He really needs an attorney. If he is looking for a
    settlement or for them to pay medical bills.

    For example we had a guy bit by a spider where I work.
    You can get bit anywhere but it is a Work-comp issue.

    He did it at work period.
    Illinois law does say you must be exposed to a higher risk than the general public. He has 2 years. He should get a lawyer. This would be
    an easy case for a lawyer.
    Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

  11. #11
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    I say the rest of the Department challenge this by refusing to wash the vehicles. Since it is not an assigned task you can't be disciplined for not doing it can you? Get the Dept to clarify that washing the vehicles is indeed a part of your job, even if it takes disciplinary action. Then hand him the notice for his fight.

    Kind of like "work to rule" for firefighters

  12. #12
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    A work-related injury is considered any new injury caused by work.
    A work-related injury is also any pre-existing injury that is aggravated by or secondary to work.

    Meaning it really wouldn't matter if he would have hurt himself at home he fell down the stairs that would aggravate the injury even more making it? You guessed it work-related.

    The city really doesn't have much of a case.

    For example the west nile virus that was going around. If a guy said he was bit by a mosquito and got west nile at work. Work is liable for it. How is that anymore exposure thant anywhere else in the state?

    Illinois is probably the most employee friendly state when it comes to work comp. I didn't see if he was treated in a hospital or not. If he was I again say he should get a lawyer.

    You can also get Illinois W/C laws on this site. www.state.il.us/agency.iic.

    OR write to them at: Illinois Industrial Commission
    100 W.Randolph St. Suite 8-200
    Chicago, Il 60601

    Phone # (312)814-6500
    Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

  13. #13
    Forum Member Smoke20286's Avatar
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    Default

    Here in Canada the employer would not even be involved in the process once a worker is injured and loses time he is no longer on the payroll, but receives his pay from Workers Comp. With any Musculoskelatal injury the evidence of the most qualified specialist is going to hold the most weight with WCC. usually once he says the injury is primarily work related its game over. Lady Capn, down here we are limited to 80% of our net by WCC, is it similar in Ontario?

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber jthomas's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bones42
    Are you sure you're not a lawyer? How do you know there is an unsafe work condition existing? Sounds like a lawyer to me.
    Bones42
    I'm NOT a lawyer! Honest!
    But believe me- I have gotten plenty of OSHA-type workplace safety indocrination over the past 15 years working in the chemical industry....

    He got injured while going down the stairs to do his job. Therefore an unsafe condition existed, by definition. Stairs are always a potential unsafe condition. Did the member engage in an unsafe act which caused the unsafe condition to exist? Were they slippery? Were the treads in proper repair and within Code? Were they properly lighted? Was he carrying too much down the stairs in order to do his job? Was he running? Was he using the hand rail? These are all issues it is the responsibility of the mgt (i.e., the City, the Officers) to address, either through: 1. work space redesign; 2. job modification/ reengineering; or 3. training and education. If the Mgt did not-UP FRONT-address all of those issues, then they are at fault.

    REGARDLESS, it is payable by Worker's Comp. He was injured at work. Period.

    Most industries consider safe work habits to be a "Condition of Employment". Therefore if he were to be a repeat offender (a clumsy goof-off), the mgt could conceivably take administrative action (in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement), but it still would be payable under Worker's Comp.

    I think a Firefighter's job is dangerous enough, without the firehouse being hazardous. Workplace safety needs to be continuously practiced by all levels of the organization.

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