Delaware Is Doing Better for Our First Responders

Employers are required to offer workers’ compensation, but your claim can be denied. The Delaware workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman will work hard to protect your rights as an injured first responder. Our attorneys represent clients across the state from our Newark, Wilmington, Newark, and Seaford offices.

Although workers’ compensation insurance is supposed to protect workers who suffer from on the job injuries, certain injuries don’t leave physical scars. We saw it during 9-11 and we’re seeing it again during the Covid-19 pandemic.

If anyone should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, it’s first responders. They willingly put themselves at risk by working in these emergency fields. Governors of many states had eased the rules, creating presumptions that make it possible for first responders and other front line workers to file these claims. To their credit, regulators recognized the need to approve workers’ compensation benefits for those who have gone above and beyond to continue serving their communities.

Delaware, with the help of the federal government, is one of those states. The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program provides $3.5 million for Delaware’s first responders, and an additional $1.7 million for counties to hire more workers, handle payroll and paperwork, and buy PPE.

The people of Delaware have also taken to raising funds. Donate Delaware has collection sites throughout the state, so people can help firefighters, doctors, police, EMTs, and other responders get the protective equipment they need.

What kinds of claims can Delaware first responders make?

Delaware’s workers’ compensation laws allow first responders to make claims for physical injuries, occupational illnesses, and mental trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is covered under our laws, as are conditions like depression and anxiety.

This is important, because first responders are facing greater risks to their mental health than every before. If you are a first responder struggling with the pressures of the job, there is help available for you: call 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333) or text DEHOPE to 55753.

States are running out of money for compensation claims

However, that has opened the door to such an enormous bill on claims payouts that they’re now looking at trying to backstop claims for Covid-19 claims because it will overwhelm the workers’ compensation system.

Just as the benefits system isn’t truly prepared for a pandemic, first responders didn’t have any way to prepare for the heightened risk of injury they now face. Furthermore, many first responders are volunteers, which would exclude them from accessing these funds.

First responders are on our front lines. We should continue to protect them, and to fight for the protection of their brothers and sisters throughout the country. If you have been hurt or developed an illness while working as a first responder, the Delaware workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman can help. To schedule your free case evaluation in our Newark, Wilmington, Newark, or Seaford office, call  302-888-2900, or reach out to us through our contact page.