New York police officers put themselves in the line of danger every day to protect the city’s citizens. This includes not only a risk of violence, but also of workplace accidents.
For example, an NYPD officer fell on the subway tracks at Times Square while trying to rescue a man picking up trash on the tracks. The man allegedly resisted the officer’s attempts to bring him to safety, causing the officer to fall, hitting his head on the tracks and losing consciousness.
Train service was suspended for 15 minutes while the officer was rescued. He was rushed to the hospital and treated for a head and an arm injury. The man on the tracks was described as emotionally disturbed, and was taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Public employees may be entitled to workers’ compensation if they are injured in a workplace accident. State laws establish which types of employees may receive workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, states prohibit officers from receiving workers’ compensation. Officers can be described as those who exercise the state’s sovereign power.
In other words, NYPD injury and FDNY injury often fall under some very specific rules and regulations concerning workplace injuries and workers’ compensation. Some states have laws dealing specifically with these types of public workers, clarifying the status of police and firefighters concerning eligibility for work comp benefits.
Of course, there are also sometimes exceptional circumstances as well. When police and firefighters responded to the burning Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, no one realized just how serious the death and injury toll would become. Federal legislation was required to create a compensation structure for those employees.
Source: New York Post, “NYPD officer injured trying to rescue man from Times Sq. tracks,” Jessica Simeone, Sept. 20, 2012