Workers’ Compensation for Prison Guards: Concussions, Assaults, and Trip/Slip and Falls

After getting hurt at work, a corrections officer in Pennsylvania may have the right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. State law guarantees workers’ comp to corrections officers who suffer work-related injuries and illnesses from accidents such as slip and falls or from inmate assaults.

Common Injuries Suffered by Corrections Officers

Serving as a corrections officer entails significant risks of injury on the job. Corrections officers may face dangerous property conditions at work that can cause an accident. They’re also exposed to the risk of being attacked by inmates or injured while trying to break up fights or quell a prison riot. Corrections officers can suffer a variety of work-related injuries and occupational illnesses, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions
  • Injuries resulting from physical assaults
  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Severe lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Puncture or stab wounds
  • Ligament sprains and tears
  • Muscle or tendon strains and tears
  • Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
  • Repetitive stress injuries, such as bursitis or carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Crush injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Respiratory injuries
  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Toxic exposure and chronic illnesses

Workers’ Comp Benefits Available to Prison Guards in Pennsylvania

Corrections officers in Pennsylvania who suffer work injuries or occupational illnesses may have the right to request workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may include:

  • Medical Benefits – Injured corrections officers can have the cost of all medical treatment and rehabilitation for a work injury or occupational disease covered by workers’ comp, including surgeries, hospital treatment, prescriptions, and orthopedic appliances.
  • Wage Loss Benefits – Corrections officers who cannot work due to injury or illness may receive reimbursement of two-thirds of their average weekly wages, up to the state-imposed maximum.
  • Total Disability Benefits – These benefits entitle workers to wage loss benefits for the duration of their disability as long as they’re unable to return to work.
  • Partial Disability Benefits – These benefits pay two-thirds of the difference between the employee’s average weekly wages before and after their injury. Partial disability benefits are available for up to 500 weeks for corrections officers with a permanent disability rating of less than 50 percent.

Furthermore, Pennsylvania law grants additional benefits to corrections officers working at state facilities injured due to the acts of inmates, providing those officers with reimbursement of their full pre-injury salary until they can return to full duty.

What Should a Corrections Officer Do After Getting Hurt at Work?

After suffering a work-related injury, a corrections officer can protect their right to financial benefits by taking the following steps:

  • Promptly reporting their injury to a supervisor
  • Seeking immediate medical attention and following through on their treatment plan
  • Saving medical records of their treatment and rehabilitation
  • Collecting copies of their pay stubs if they need to take time off work due to their injury
  • Filing a report with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry within three years of the injury

Injured corrections officers who report their injuries to a supervisor within 21 days of the injury can receive workers’ comp benefits backdated to the date of their injury. Guards who wait more than 120 days to report an injury may jeopardize their eligibility for workers’ comp benefits.

Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

When you’ve suffered injuries while serving as a corrections officer, you have the right to seek financial benefits to assist you as you heal and work your way back to duty. Contact Ainsman Levine, LLC, today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable workers’ comp lawyer to discuss your legal options.