Police and firefighters keep our city safe. They are brave and devoted civil servants who serve the public in occupations that are the most dangerous in the world. No one needs to be reminded of the valor of our men and women of New York’s Finest and New York’s Bravest on September 11th . Both before and since then, these courageous men and women have risked their lives every day to make our world safer and more secure.
At Dansker & Aspromonte, we have a special devotion to helping all our civil servants. Over the years we have represented many police officers and firefighters who were injured both on and off the job.
Generally, an employee cannot sue his or her employer and they are limited to bringing a worker compensation claim, but because police officers and firefighters are not covered by worker compensation insurance, they have the right to sue the City of New York for injuries if the City was negligent. For example, if a police officer in a patrol car is injured by the negligent operation of the driver, the City is responsible; or if a firefighter slips and falls in a firehouse because of a continuously leaking pipe in the restroom, the City is responsible.
Police and firefighters have the right to sue for injuries caused to them as a result of negligence by any other public or private defendant.
Prior to 1966, police officers and firefighters were prohibited from suing anyone if they were injured while on the job in the line of duty. A line of duty injury is one that occurs while the police officer or firefighter is actively in the course of his or her duties as a police officer or firefighter. So, if a police officer was injured while chasing a perpetrator or a firefighter was hurt while attending to a fire, there was no right to sue the City of New York or any private defendant even if it was their negligence that caused the injury.
In 1966 the New York State Legislation passed a law which has become known as the Firefighter’s Rule. It is General Municipal Law Section 205-a and it allows firefighters and police to sue the City of New York and private defendants even when the injury occurred in the line of duty if the accident was caused by a violation of any law, rule or order. So if a police officer is injured because of a broken sidewalk while chasing a perpetrator, or if a firefighter is hurt while fighting a fire, and the injury was caused by the negligence of any defendant, public or private, in the violation of any law, rule or order, the police officer or firefighter can sue and recover damages for those injuries and this is in addition to any benefits to which they are entitled because they were injured on the job.
Salvatore Aspromonte is Chief Counsel to the Tri-State Law Enforcement Foundation. Tri-State Law Enforcement Foundation Inc. works closely with the top law enforcement officials in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The foundation supports their law enforcement departments, along with the elected representatives of the fraternal, religious, ethnic, and union organizations which give them necessary support.
In this time of diminished financial resources and manpower, the Tri-State Law Enforcement Foundation endeavors to facilitate the coordination and allocation of the resources that the various law enforcement entities have at their disposal, through networking, friendship and alliances. The Foundation also provides scholarships and support for the families of our fallen heroes.
If you or someone close to you has been injured in any accident either On or Off the Job in New York, our personal injury lawyers are here to help. Contact us today online or by telephone at 212-732-2929 to speak with an experienced New York City personal injury lawyer.
We have a great deal of experience with Line of Duty and Off Duty accident cases and we will welcome your inquiries and questions about these matters. To schedule a free consultation with a Police and Firefighter Accident attorney, contact us online or call 212-732-2929.