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Volunteer Firefighters Get Workers Compensation Benefits If Injured “On the Job”

  • Jon Koutcher
  • 06/25/2013

Volunteer firefighters, and other emergency workers such as volunteer ambulance workers, are needed in most towns across Pennsylvania. The duties performed by volunteer firefighters are often the same as the full time, salaried firefighters, and as such, volunteer firefighters are exposed to the same risks and dangers when fighting a fire and otherwise assisting the public.  The Pennsylvania legislature recognized this and rewards volunteer firefighters for their important and valuable service.  Section 601 of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (“Act”) awards volunteer firefighters Workers’ Compensation benefits for injuries that occur in the line of duty. The Act favors volunteer firefighters two ways:  first, most volunteers (non firefighter) are not entitled to any compensation for a loss of earnings caused by an injury suffered in the course of volunteer work; and, secondly, volunteer firefighters are guaranteed wage loss benefits based upon the “Statewide Average Weekly Wage” whereas all other employees receive wage loss benefits based on their actual loss of earnings.


How much does a volunteer firefighter receive in workers compensation benefits?  Since the firefighter is a “volunteer” and is not “earning” wages, the law provides that a volunteer firefighter who is injured and disabled receives wage loss benefits based upon the Statewide Average Weekly Wage, which is determined annually by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.  The Statewide Average Weekly Wage is the maximum compensation rate payable for that calendar year.


Attorneys at the Philadelphia workers compensation firm Pearson Koutcher Law have over three decades of combined experience representing individuals, including volunteer firefighters, in workers compensation matters throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  If you are a volunteer firefighter injured “on the job,” contact the Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys at Pearson Koutcher Law for a free consultation.


Jonathan B. Koutcher, Esquire
Pearson Koutcher Law
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