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Can Law Enforcement Officers File Lawsuits Over Work Injuries?

form for filing lawsuitPolice officers willingly accept the risks of their job – while citizens move away from danger, these brave men and women regularly go into dangerous situations to enforce the law or protect citizens from criminals.

Since law enforcement officers accept the risk, you may be wondering if they can file lawsuits against third parties when they are injured on the job. There actually are situations when third parties could be held liable for on-the-job injuries to law enforcement officers.

Below, our Bakersfield workers’ compensation lawyers discuss legal options for law enforcement officers hurt on the job. If you need assistance, request a free, no obligation consultation today. There is no cost to having us represent you unless you receive compensation.

California Law Authorizes Civil Lawsuits by Police

While the California Fireman’s Rule typically bars law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel employed by a public entity from filing a civil lawsuit against another party for injuries occurring while at work, Civil Code Section 1714.9 does offer exceptions.

Under this code, law enforcement officers are permitted to file civil lawsuits in the following situations:

  • When conduct causing injury occurs once the individual knows or should have known a law enforcement officer was present
  • When the conduct violates regulations, ordinances or statutes and the conduct was not the event that caused the presence of the police officer
  • When conduct causing injury was intended to injure the officer
  • When arson was the cause of the injury to the officer

Examples of Situations When Police Officers Can File Lawsuits

It can be difficult to determine if the situation that caused your injury qualifies as an exception to the Fireman’s Rule. The following situations are examples of when a law enforcement officer might be permitted to file a lawsuit.

  • A law enforcement officer is called to the scene of an attack. The attacker knows of the presence of the officer and commits an act intending to injure the officer.
  • A law enforcement officer responds to a security system alarm. The officer encounters a hazard on the property and is injured. The property owner knew of the hazard yet failed to give a warning to the officer.
  • A law enforcement officer responds to an accident scene where he or she is struck by falling equipment nearby. The equipment was not related to the reason the officer had been called to the scene.

Why an Attorney is an Advantage in a Third-Party Lawsuit

Filing a third-party lawsuit for a law enforcement officer’s work-related injury is a complicated matter. It also gives you the opportunity to pursue forms of compensation not available in a workers’ compensation claim, such as pain and suffering.

Your first step in pursuing a third-party lawsuit should be to seek the advice of a qualified attorney. Your attorney will explain if you have a valid case and if you do, and you want to move forward, he or she can begin a detailed investigation to gather strong evidence.

Without detailed knowledge of the applicable laws regarding law enforcement officer injuries, it is very difficult to determine if you have a case. Our attorneys know how to determine if the situation that caused your work-related injury is an exception to the Fireman’s Rule and help you pursue the case.

Contact Our Attorneys to Learn Your Legal Options

If you are a law enforcement officer who has suffered an injury on the job, contact our workers’ compensation attorneys today to learn what legal options may be available for recovering compensation for your injuries. We can go over your case and assist you in pursuing the just compensation you deserve.

Request a free legal consultation right away. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for damages.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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