If you think about all the dangers that police officers regularly face – the punching, the struggling of suspects, the collisions in vehicles chases, the occasional returned gun fire – you might suspect that they qualify for a fair amount of worker’s compensation. You’d be right as well. It is a tough job to protect and serve the people, but one that needs to be done. However, one of the most common injuries as well as the most woefully underreported injuries in police officers actually comes as a result of their daily grind. The daily grind of their duty belt against their lower back, that is.
Back injuries, especially in law enforcement go widely unreported. In part because of machismo, but mostly because officer don’t often realize they are getting a lower back injury. While just working through the pain might work for a time, it is only making the injury worse, and thus, that pain is going to grow worse as well. One of the most common culprits of back injuries is a police officer’s duty belt. It may seem an innocuous part of the uniform, but it carries all an officer’s crucial tools including a radio, gun and gun light, extra magazines, handcuffs, pepper spray, a baton, a flashlight, glove case, tourniquet kit, and a taser. That is around 20 extra pounds around the hips that are constantly bearing down against the lower back as an officer goes about their occasionally hectic day.
A police officer constantly has their duty belt and it is constantly bearing down on their waist. It is no wonder that so many officers have what they call “bad backs” as they age. While some departments have combated this widespread recipe for injury by switching to tactical vests, there are still a fair amount of officers out there that use the belt, or already have injuries from using the belts, and they shouldn’t have to cover the damage from their own pockets.
Like many injuries that a law enforcement officers face every day, so, too, can they get coverage for lower back damage, but only if they report it. It is easy for a skilled doctor or chiropractor to see the damage that is causing pain in the lower lumbar and it is even easier to make the leap to suggest that the lower back pain was caused by an extra 20 pounds pressing against the spine almost every day. However, it is important that they report pain as soon as possible. If they do, then doctors may be able to give recommendations for treatment so that a sometimes pain in the lower back isn’t an always pain.
By reporting lower back pain early, an officer may even be able to save their whole department from it. If a department has to use their worker’s compensation insurance for a few officers who suffer the same issue, then something is clearly wrong. By reporting their injuries, one officer may save the backs of hundreds of future officers in their area.
As injuries to officers happen so much more frequently and the injuries are often more severe than other worker’s, it is important that they always have a worker’s compensation lawyer they can trust. It makes things move so much quicker when an officer already knows who to call up in order to get the best benefits out of their worker’s compensation. If you are an officer and are already feeling the weight of responsibility in the form of your duty belt pressing against your lower lumbar, contact us today. The Law Office of Joshua Borken are dedicated to representing all injured workers in Minnesota, from officers of the law to factory workers.