I’m a Police Officer, Can I Sue a Suspect for Injuring Me?
Law enforcement is a dangerous occupation and police officers are often injured due to the actions of a suspect, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Police Officers know that they are able to recover workers’ compensation benefits such as wage loss, medical benefits, and rehabilitation benefits, but many officers do not know that in some circumstances they may also sue the person or entity that caused their injuries.
Work Comp Benefits are generally based on a “no fault” system. It does not matter who or what caused your injury. All that matters is the injuries arise out of your employment. Work Comp benefits are paid through the city, county, or State’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Many cities and counties are self-insured to an extent, or use a trust that spreads out the risk among a group of cities or counties, such as MCIT or League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust. Work Comp claims are governed by the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act and follow administrative law rules.
In addition to work comp, injured officers may also receive PERA or MSRS Duty Disability benefits. In order to receive duty disability benefits, a police officer must generally show that they were injured while conducting inherently dangerous duties specific to law enforcement, and that this disability prevents them from performing the normal duties of a police officer for at least one year. Duty Disability benefits entitle an officer to non-taxable benefits until age 55, at which time the disability converts to a regular retirement benefit. You may also be entitled to HealthCare Continuation benefits under Minnesota Statute § 299A.465, which entitles you and sometimes your family to health care coverage until age 65. PERA and MSRS Benefits are not based on a fault or negligence system.
If you are injured by a suspect, then a third-party is responsible for your injuries. While you cannot bring a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, you may bring a lawsuit against that suspect. A personal injury lawsuit is filed in district court and may entitle injured plaintiffs (the party bringing the suit) to past and future wage loss, past and future pain and suffering, and past and future medical treatment. Personal injury lawsuits are not as limited as work comp is. Damages in cases where the police officer is no longer able to return to work can be very high. Work comp also does not allow plaintiffs to sue for pain and suffering. In limited circumstances, plaintiffs may allege punitive damages as well other types of claims for the conduct that caused the injury.
If a police officer is injured by a negligent driver or injured while attempting to arrest a fleeing or resisting suspect, then you may recover against that responsible party. While many suspects who injure police officers are difficult to recover against—meaning they do not have assets that can be accessed after a successful lawsuit—there may be insurance available depending on the circumstances, meaning the squad car’s insurance, your personal car insurance, or homeowners’ insurance.
At Schmidt Salita Law Team, we have successfully represented police officers against negligent third-parties or suspects who have injured officers, some who have attempted to flee or resist arrest and even more commonly in cases where officers were injured in car accidents. We also represent officers in procuring PERA or MSRS duty disability benefits and health care continuation benefits under Minnesota Statute § 299A.465, and workers’ compensation claims. We are experienced litigators who are knowledgeable about these complicated cases with multiple layers of coordinating benefits. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
The Schmidt Salita Team Offers Contingent Fee Arrangements
The firm offers contingent fee agreements (You don’t pay lawyers fees until you collect and then only as a percentage of the settlement). It also offers home and hospital visits to clients whose injuries present difficulty in coming to the office.
“PERSONAL INJURY LEGAL SERVICES WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH!”
The Schmidt Salita Law Team offers high quality legal services to the victims of car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle collisions, distracted driving, and pedestrian collisions. The firm serves clients in the entire Twin Cities Metropolitan area, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Anoka, Apple Valley, Blaine, Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Buffalo, Burnsville, Carver, Chanhassen, Chaska, Cottage Grove, Delano, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Edina, Elk River, Golden Valley, Lakeville, Mankato, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Medina, Minnetonka, Monticello, Mound, New Ulm, Oakdale, Orono, Ostego, Plymouth, Prior Lake, Richfield, Rockford, Roseville, Sartell, Savage, Sauk Rapids, Shakopee, Shorewood, South St. Paul, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Michael, St. Peter, Stillwater, Waconia, Waite Park, Wayzata, Woodbury and surrounding areas.