First responders, that is, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and other emergency responders, put themselves at risk everyday to save lives of fellow New Yorkers who are in danger. These injuries can lead to long-term implications for their health as well as their employment. Some accidents and resultant injuries can leave them unable to do their job, leaving them financially vulnerable. However, there are legal provisions for first responders in case they get injured in the line of a duty.
Common fatal and non-fatal injuries among police officers, firefighters and EMS include:
- Accidental shootings
- Pedestrian vehicular accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Falls and slips
- Impact with objects or equipment
- Fires, explosions, and exposure to harmful substances such as chemicals
- Extreme weather
- Sprains and strains to muscles, joints, etc.
- Bruises, contusions
- Burns, scalds
- Thermal stress such as frostbite
- Broken bones
- Back injury or pain, soreness, etc.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list but the most common injuries to occur. This paints a grave picture of the risks that our first responders face every day. Moreover, these injuries require long-term and expensive treatment. Unfortunately, in cases where these accidents are fatal can leave the families of these heroes vulnerable.
Moreover, even though the first responders are aware of the risks of their jobs, it is difficult to be prepared for the consequences should an accident occur.
What happens if a police officer is injured in the line of duty?
Police officers who are injured in the line of duty have the right to sue other people or entities who are responsible for their injuries. Under General Municipal Law 205-e, any police officer in the state of New York who is injured or killed in an accident can file a lawsuit for the person or entity responsible for their injury or death. For wrongful death lawsuits, the survivors of the deceased police officer can file a lawsuit on their behalf.
What happens if a firefighter in injured in the line of duty?
Under General Municipal Law Section 205-a, firefighters or their families have the right to file a lawsuit and seek recovery for their damages when they suffer injuries or death in the line of duty. Under this law, a claim can only proceed if the injury or death was the result of a violation of any statute, code, regulation, or rule recognized by the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. If the injury or death was sustained in the line of duty and was caused directly or indirectly by any violation that had a “practical or reasonable” connection to the injury, a firefighter can recover for his or her injury.