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New York Offers Extra Protection to Public Servants Injured in the Line of Duty

By Dansker & Aspromonte

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New York City police and firefighters put their personal safety on the line every day. Although officers and firefighters are entitled to income and medical care if they are disabled by a line of duty injury, that isn’t always sufficient to fully compensate the injured officer. It also doesn’t ensure that the responsible party will be required to compensate the injured public servant.

In many states, options are limited for those injured heroes. However, New York’s legislature has empowered our police and firefighters to pursue compensation directly from some responsible parties, without impacting their right to other legal remedies.

Private Lawsuits for NYC Line of Duty Injuries

New York law gives the police and firefighters the right to sue for line of duty injuries when there is a violation of a statute, ordinance, code, rule, or regulation.

That may sound restrictive since a law or regulation must be violated before the public servant is permitted to pursue a direct claim for compensation.

Negligent behavior alone is not sufficient for this type of lawsuit, as it would be for a general personal injury case. However, an experienced New York police injury lawyer will know how to thoroughly research the circumstances of the injury and the relevant laws. You may be surprised to discover that the responsible party violated a statute, ordinance, or regulation, allowing you to sue for compensation.

Imagine a responding officer gets out of his car in the dark and begins walking up a driveway. Halfway up the drive, he trips over a raised crack in the concrete and seriously injures his knee, requiring surgery. At first glance, this sounds like a general premises liability claim based, which would not give rise to a line of duty injury claim.

However, it turns out that the New York State Property Maintenance Code requires that driveways (as well as sidewalks, walkways, parking spaces, and other similar exterior spaces) “be kept in a proper state of repair and kept free from hazardous conditions.” Therefore, since the harm resulted from the property owner’s failure to comply with this law, the police officer has a valid claim.

No Set-off in Line of Duty Injury Cases

When a police officer or firefighter suffers a debilitating injury, he or she will typically be awarded disability income and medical care. In civilian personal injury cases, the responsible party would be entitled to set off those amounts, effectively deducting the compensation received from another party from the damages in the case. However, the statute enabling New York police and firefighters to sue for line of duty injuries specifies that other rights of recovery will not be affected.

This principle is well illustrated by the case of a young New York police officer injured in an automobile accident while on patrol.

For a free legal consultation, call (212) 540-2984

Line of Duty Injury Claims against Governmental Entities

The right to file a line of duty injury case against a party whose violation of some statute or other regulation gave rise to an injury is not limited to outsiders. Line of duty injury claims can be and often are asserted against the governmental entity that employs the injured public servant.

Talk to an NYC Line of Duty Injury Attorney Today

If you are a police officer or injured in the line of duty, you may be entitled to more compensation than police disability benefits. The same is true for NYC firefighters. Schedule a free consultation right now by filling out the contact form on this page or calling 212-540-2984.

Featured Image credit: Marcin Wichary / Flickr
In Post Image credit Jeff VanLandingham / Flickr

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