Police officers have a difficult job, and they are often exposed to situations where the possibility of getting hurt is high.
Some individuals don't require any time off work while injured, and others will usually return once they have healed. However, for a minority of officers, injuries may be so severe that they can never go back to their occupation.
These are typically referred to as total and permanent disabilities, and the person affected can experience a serious reduction in their quality of life.
Let's take a closer look at some of the problems that police officers face, and whether or not they would be eligible for a TPD payout.
Car accident injuries
Whether it's directing traffic, pursuing offenders in high-speed car chases or simply driving to the scene of a crime, police officers regularly risk being involved in motor vehicle accidents.
A US study cited in Griffiths University research revealed that nearly 64 per cent of accidental deaths of American officers between 1996 and 2000 were due to crashes. A further 17.4 per cent were incidents where the individual on duty was struck by a vehicle.
Serious injuries sustained in a car accident could result in a TPD claim, as well as motor accident compensation.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Police officers often witness harrowing events during their career, including murders, sexual assaults and suicides. Repeated exposure to such incidents can result in PTSD.
A recent article in academic newspaper The Conversation estimated that the risk of developing PTSD among members of the force is as high as 20 per cent – far more than the 2 or 3 per cent for the wider population.
PTSD and other severe mental health problems can be considered disabilities, so officers could be eligible for TPD insurance if they suffer from these conditions.
Musculoskeletal injuries cover a variety of ailments that affect muscles, bones, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and other soft tissues that help with movement.
Safe Work Australia data showed that defence force members, fire fighters and police officers make 15 claims for musculoskeletal injuries per every one million hours worked. This was the second highest of the professions studied, with only health and welfare support workers making more claims.
While many musculoskeletal issues are for strains, sprains and other minor injuries, some can be serious enough to be considered a TPD.
Would you like to know more about injury compensation for police officers? Please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.