A new report from the NBC4 I-Team sheds light on just how difficult it can be for LAPD officers to receive the workers' compensation benefits they need. In many cases, officers eager to get back to work are kept from doing so due to medical conditions that have worsened over time.
That's the case of Officer Channing Lang, whose knee injury (sustained during a foot pursuit) finally developed into a debilitating condition. Now, after 14-years on the force, she is unable to serve and protect the community. "What it does to the human spirit, you asked me to put it into words and I can't even come up with words for what it did," Lang says, describing how it felt being unable to do her job.
Senior Lead Officer Martin Martinez shares a similar story: after 30 years on the force and shouldering more than 30 lbs. of gear, his knees gave out. He can only get the recommended surgery he needs if a company hired by the city to assess his claim approves his workers' comp benefits. According to both Martinez and Lang their stories are not uncommon.
15 Percent Of The Force Sidelined
According to city officials, the number of claims from police officers has gone up—but so has the number of claim reviews. Records show that over the last few years, the number of claim reviews has actually doubled from 3,200 to 6,400. Those reviews keep 15% of the force waiting for benefits and unable to work.
And there is a cost to those reviews, as well. "That [each review] takes an officer off the street and out of a black-and-white," explains Mark Cronin with the police union. City Controller Ron Galperin is also critical of the system and has ordered several audits to get to the bottom of the many delays that keep benefits from reaching injured officers. "If you wanted to design a painful, lengthy, expensive system, you couldn't have done a better job than the one that the state has right now," he told NBC4 News.
If you've been injured on the job and need to file a workers' compensation claim—or contest an assessment of a prior claim—the Law Offices of Wax & Wax is ready to hear from you. Our award-winning Glendale workers' compensation attorneys have more than 100 years of combined trial experience. We know what it takes to submit a compelling claim and how to fight for the benefits our clients deserve.
Our firm is ready to hear your story. Contact us today to start exploring your legal options.