Accidental Disability Retirement Benefits for Police Officers in Massachusetts
At the Law Offices of Morgan J. Gray, P.C., many of our Accidental Disability Retirement (or ADR) clients are Police Officers. Because their work puts them in harm's way, they frequently become injured and can become totally disabled from their jobs. While it can be heart-breaking to leave a career that you love, with certain injuries it just becomes impossible to keep working in such a physically-demanding position.
Each year, both in the news and in our office, we hear about the devastating injuries police officers suffer at the hands of violent offenders. However, more commonplace injuries like falls, lifting injuries, or even repetitive motion conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome can also render an officer physically unfit for duty.
While short-term injuries on the job may entitle a police officer for §111F benefits, any disability or limitation that is likely to be permanent and occurred on-duty may open them up to Accidental Disability Retirement benefits.
To be eligible for ADR, you'll need to show you are permanently disabled from the duties of a police officer, and that your disability occurred due to an accident at work caused by a condition unique to your employment. So, if you hurt yourself forcing someone into the back of the cruiser, this is considered to be unique to your employment. If you hurt yourself replacing the water cooler jug, you may not be eligible for ADR.
Heart and Lung Bill
Massachusetts Law provides presumption that if you are a police officer and are disabled due to heart conditions, certain cancers, or lung problems, that these conditions were work-related. This means that you will not need to prove your condition was work-related, as it is automatically linked to your work.
When dealing with a struggling suspect, it is very easy to suffer a shoulder injury. While many shoulder injuries can be successfully treated by surgery and physical therapy, or even more conservative measures, not all shoulder surgeries are successful. If you injured your shoulder and cannot return to full duty, then you may be eligible for Accidental Disability Retirement
As a part of the aging process, the back becomes more prone to injury. Police officers put additional stress on their backs all the time, simply due to the weight of their gear. A back injury, even a simple strain, may permanently affect your pain level or ability to lift. If you are unable to lift a struggling or unconscious person due to a back injury, you may be unable to perform the full duties of a police officer permanently.
Risk of Re-injury
When considering whether someone is permanently and totally disabled, a physician who would examine you as part of the ADR process must also consider the possible risk of re-injury. Police Officers suffer some of the highest risks of re-injury simply due to the incredible physical demands the job requires. Even if your injury has healed enough that you are no longer in pain and generally can perform your duties, you may still be eligible for ADR due to the risk of re-injury. If your bad knee gives out when you're chasing a suspect, you may put yourself or other officers or civilians at risk.
The Law Office of Morgan J. Gray is experienced at working with Police Officers from around the Commonwealth. We know the special and unique duties your position requires, and can help ensure that your application for ADR benefits is successful-the first time. If you've applied and been denied, we also handle cases before the Division of Administrative Law Appeals. If you are injured and unsure of your future options, simply call and set up an appointment to speak with one of the skilled and knowledgeable attorneys in our office who can give you a frank evaluation about your chances of being successful in an application for Accidental Disability Benefits.