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California enacted Labor Code 4850 to benefit law enforcement officers, firefighters and other public safety/service employees in the event they suffer an injury while performing their duties. The labor code allows these workers to receive their full salaries for no more than one year within a five-year period from the date an on-the-job injury.
The code provides for a salary in the event the worker suffers a temporarily totally disability from an injury or illness incurred in the course of performing their duties. If you are a public safety/service worker, it is important to understand Labor Code 4850.
Labor Code Section 4850 does not only cover law enforcement officers and firefighters. It applies to all of the following public safety/service workers:
Individuals in these roles who perform the correct duties have the right to receive Labor Code Section 4850 benefits. The benefits of Labor Code 4850 are one-year of non-taxable salary. It also includes the continued provision of heath care and pension benefits. If the individual remains disabled after these benefits expire, they will continue to receive benefits at the state rate. However, they may have to pay for health insurance benefits and employer pension contributions may terminate, as well.
Section 4850 strictly allows benefits to last for one year after the date of each injury. This means if the individual incurs a second injury while on Labor Code Section 4850, a new year will begin from the date of the new injury. If two injuries occur concurrently, a claims administrator may try to argue for allowing only one year and no additional time.
There are no breaks in Labor Code Section 4850. The employer must provide salary for one year within a five-year time frame from the date of injury. If the individual returns to work and has a subsequent total temporary disability period, that time may be in smaller periods.
Labor Code Section 4850 benefits end after one year. Other reasons the benefits may end are because five years from the date of injury have passed; or that the administrator stops payment of benefits after termination of employment, resignation, or receipt of disability pension retirement benefits has occurred. Keep in mind that after one year, individuals who suffer a disability will be able to receive benefits at the state rate. However, if five years has passed, the individual may no longer be able to receive any benefits.
If you are a public safety/service employee in California, it is important to understand Labor Code Section 4850. You may be eligible for compensation under Labor Code Section 4850 following an injury. If you feel you need legal representation to claim Section 4850 benefits, contact an Orange County workers’ compensation attorney who can guide you through the often complicated process of filing for you benefits.