Safeguarding the public is a dangerous job, and law enforcement officers are sometimes injured or killed on the job. The NYPD has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other police department in the United States. While that’s partially due to the tremendous losses on September 11, the 72 officers killed that day account for less than 10% of the total count.
Of course, these public servants are entitled to benefits when injured on the job, including disability payments and medical care. However, a New York statute designed specifically to protect those who put themselves at risk in the interest of public safety affords added protection to police officers and their families. Call our NYPD attorneys to know more about the law.
Line of Duty Lawsuits
In addition to the benefits provided by the governmental entity when a public servant is injured on the job, the injured worker (or the family of a public servant killed in the line of duty) may be able to recover damages directly from the responsible party.
The basis for such a lawsuit is a bit more demanding than a standard personal injury claim. A line of duty injury claim arises only when the other party violated a law or local ordinance, and that violation directly or indirectly caused the injury or death. In the most obvious type of case, a police officer is injured responding to a crime in progress. In that case, the perpetrator of the crime is a cause of the injury to the public servant, by virtue of having committed the crime. However, not every line of duty injury case is linked to the commission of a serious crime. Some less obvious examples may include:
- An officer en route to a call who is injured in an accident with a driver who is speeding, has run a red light, or has violated another safety-related traffic law or ordinance
- A police officer is injured answering a call or making an investigation on private property, due to the owner’s failure to maintain the property in accordance with building codes or other local ordinances
- An officer is injured responding to a call regarding a disturbance in a bar that has overserved the patrons involved
For a free legal consultation, call (646) 692-0204
Setoff in Line of Duty Cases versus Personal Injury Cases
In most injury-related cases, damages are subject to “setoff.” This system is intended to ensure that an injured person doesn’t recover excessive damages when there are multiple responsible parties. For example, if a construction worker is injured on the job and his medical expenses are covered by worker’s compensation, he cannot expect to also recover reimbursement for those medical expenses from the general contractor, an equipment manufacturer, or some other responsible party. Though he may recover damages from the third party, those damages cannot be duplicative of compensation received from another source.
The New York line of duty statute specifies that other rights of action are not impacted by line of duty litigation. That means, for example, that a police officer who is receiving disability benefits and medical coverage from the department in the wake of his injury may recover full damages from the responsible party without reduction, and without being required to pay back any of those benefits.
Talk to a New York Line of Duty Injury Attorney Today
If you are a police officer who has been injured in the line of duty or you lost a loved one in a line of duty incident, the law is on your side. Take the first step toward asserting your rights and collecting compensation by scheduling a free consultation with our New York City firefighter injury attorneys. Call (212) 540-2984 or fill out the contact form on this page now.