There’s no denying that firefighting is one of the most dangerous occupations around, outside of the armed forces. During a day at work, firefighters may encounter various treacherous situations that could put their lives at risk. Aside from the obvious dangers such as burning buildings and collapsing structures, firefighters are also susceptible to developing cancer from working around smoke and other carcinogens.
Anyone who joins up to become a firefighter is well aware of the potential risks involved. However, this does not mean that firefighters are not entitled to receive compensation for injuries suffered on the job. Under certain circumstances, if you’re injured on the job and believe negligence played a part you may be eligible to make a firefighter injury compensation claim.
Common Occupational Hazards Firefighters Face
There are numerous hazards that firefighters might face throughout their career. Some of the more common hazards and injuries are:
Stating that burns are the most common injuries that firefighters suffer from comes as no surprise. A firefighter’s primary job function is fighting fires. Although they are equipped with industry standard protective gear, this often has its limits against the intense heat of a burning building. If something goes wrong during a fire-fighting operation, the burn injuries can be severe and even life-threatening. If negligence has led to burns then you may find it beneficial to read our advice on claiming compensation for burn injuries.
Crush Injuries From Collapsing Buildings
A building that is ravaged by fire or any other disaster can become dangerously unstable. Parts of the building or the whole building could crumble and collapse at any time, crushing firefighters around and inside the building.
With the amount of thick smoke that is generated by large fires, there is a high possibility for inhaling some amount of smoke despite wearing protective breathing equipment. Serious respiratory injuries are just one of many conditions caused by smoke inhalation. Excessive smoke inhalation can also result in brain damage from lack of oxygen, and extended exposure can also put an individual at high risk for cancer and heart disease.
Firefighters often enter buildings to control the fire and save people trapped on higher floors. Under the circumstances, low visibility combined with the unstable condition of the building puts them at risk of falling from heights resulting in all types of injuries. The additional weight of their heavy protective gear often makes these injuries more severe.
Firefighting can be a high-stress job. Firefighters are fully aware of the dangerous situations that a day at work could present. Even if the work day goes by without having to attend to any serious situation, there is the persistent stress of wondering when they will be called out. This unrelenting stress can create various stress-induced medical conditions, from ulcers and panic attacks to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Very few of us associate cancer and firefighting but it is in fact one of the biggest health risks of the job. Smoke from burning buildings contains various carcinogens. Smoke from factory buildings can be even more dangerous as they often contain hazardous chemicals. Long-term exposure to these carcinogenic substances puts firefighters at risk for lung, kidney, and colon cancer.
In addition to these hazards while on the job, firefighters can get injured during training, which is often as rigorous as the real thing. Another cause of injury is road traffic accidents, which can happen because of the high speed at which fire trucks travel to get to the scene of the call-out as soon as possible.
Work Injuries That Firefighters Might Claim Compensation For
If you are a firefighter injured on duty, you may be entitled to claim for a work-related injury including:
- Minor burns, sprains, strains or scald injuries;
- Serious injuries such as third-degree burns, scarring, fractures, crush injuries, and sight or hearing impairment;
- Chronic injuries such as whiplash injuries, back, spine and neck injuries, or repetitive strain injury;
- Catastrophic or life-altering injuries such as amputation, head injury, paralysis or brain injury;
- Industrial diseases such as cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis;
- Psychological injuries such as high stress, PTSD, and other mental health conditions.
Making A Firefighter Injury Compensation Claim
Although firefighters are insured, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay out any compensation in case of an injury. Your best chance of getting the compensation due to you in case of an injury on the job is by having a personal injury solicitor make your claim. Initiating legal proceedings through a personal injury solicitor is easier than you may think and in many cases it won’t cost you a penny unless the claim is successful. This is because most personal injury solicitors offer a free no-obligation consultation. During this consultation, you can give your account of what happened and how you got injured.
If you have a strong case and are entitled to compensation, the solicitor will do more than just recommend that you go ahead with pursuing your firefighter injury claim. They will also offer to help you fight your claim on a No Win No claim basis. Signing a No Win No Fee claims agreement with a personal injury solicitor ensures that you do not pay anything at any time during the process, and you also do not pay anything if your case is not successful. You only pay if the claim is settled in your favour and awarded compensation. The agreement will lay out the terms of how much you have to pay and how the payment has to be made. In our case it would be an agreed percentage of the compensation awarded and is deducted directly from it.
Another advantage of having a personal injury solicitor to file a firefighter injury compensation claim is that it gives you time to recover from your injuries knowing that an expert is hard at work ensuring that your legal rights are protected. Compensation for firefighter injuries usually covers all short and long term medical expenses, general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, loss of income, and home care if necessary.
Firefighting is unlike any other occupation. The risks are extremely high and for many firefighters, the reward at the end of the day is the emotional satisfaction that comes from having saved lives. If you sustained any injuries on the job or because of the job, you should consider contacting a personal injury solicitor and explore your right to claim compensation for your injuries.