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Coverage Questioned for Rutland Firefighter Injured on Ambulance Duty

Paul Newcomb, a Rutland firefighter, was injured on the job while on ambulance duty. He ruptured a disc in his back when lifting a patient into an ambulance on February 2, 2010, and has since been out of work. After an operation to remove the disc and implant titanium rods in his back, his doctors told him that he could no longer work as a firefighter.

Because he was injured on the job while working on an ambulance, the town of Rutland is trying to switch the cost of his salary from the funds of the town to workers’ compensation insurance by arguing that he was working as a paramedic, not a firefighter. In Rutland, and a few other cities in Massachusetts, firefighters are required to work, without a difference in job titles or pay, as paramedics or emergency medical technicians.

Edward Kelly, Interim President of Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, said that the Rutland officials are “maliciously interpreting the intent of the law which protects police and firefighters who are injured in the line of duty…And to victimize this firefighter and his family is an insult to the firefighters of Rutland and the people of the town.” Newcomb, who says that he would lose about 40 percent of his income before he eventually retires on disability, said that “Of course, I’m looking out for myself and my family first…But I also have to think about all the other firefighters who could be affected by this.”

The issue remains unresolved despite an executive session meeting between the City of Rutland and Newcomb. About 30 firefighters from Worcester, Shrewsbury, Holden, and Rutland, showed up to support Newcomb. Some of these firefighters voiced their opinions and are worried about how the law can be interpreted to mean that they are not covered if working in an ambulance.

With over 25 years of experience representing workers’ compensation clients who have suffered from injuries on the job, our experienced lawyers can help you. If you have a question in regards to a workers’ compensation case and would like a free consultation, please feel free to contact us.

Source:

Rutland firefighter’s injury case has wide-reaching implications, Telegram & Gazette, February 25, 2011
Contact the Massachusetts work injury lawyers at Altman & Altman if you have been injured on the job.

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