Special Protections Afforded to Injured Firefighters & Their Families
Here’s What All Firefighters Need To Know
Our law firm has been fighting for the legal rights of FDNY firefighters for over 25 years, and has been instrumental in shaping the laws that protect firefighters. This has led to expanded protections for firefighters injured in the line of duty. The goal is to provide an umbrella of protection to firefighters, first by fostering compliance with the law in order to minimize the risk of injury in the first place, and second by providing a means of compensation to sick and injured firefighters.
There’s no denying that firefighting is a dangerous job. But the risks to firefighters are heightened when individuals and organizations violate the safety rules we have in place. Some well-known devastating examples of what can go wrong include the Deutsche Bank fire, where the standpipe system was catastrophically breached rendering it inoperable, the Black Sunday fire, where illegal partitions were erected, trapping firefighters who had no safety ropes, and the Father’s Day fire, where gasoline was left in a rear yard, and where a water heater lacked a safety stand.
These losses shock us to our core. We all understand that it is appropriate that those responsible be held accountable, and in each case, they were. While less recognized outside of the firefighting community, there are also scores of firefighters who have lost their careers, who live with daily pain, who can no longer do the things they once loved, because someone else failed to comply with the law. They too, deserve justice.
Because the laws that protect firefighters are broad by design, there is no simple explanation of the circumstances that can give rise to liability. You should know that if someone else’s violation of a code, rule, or regulation plays a part in injuring you, the law protects you. This includes accidents that occur in the firehouse, in FDNY apparatus, on the sidewalk, on the road, inside premises, on a fire escape, while on a call, and in between calls – any time and any place.
We want to make sure that you know your rights. If you are injured in the line of duty, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Always fill out a detailed CD-72 when you are injured, even if you think the injury is a minor sprain or strain, and be extremely careful in fully describing your injuries, and the important factors that contributed to the accident;
- You have 3 years from the date of your accident to bring a lawsuit against a private entity;
- If you were injured due to a violation by the City of New York, a Notice of Claim must be filed within 90 days of the accident (however, under certain circumstances, a judge may grant a request to file a late Notice of Claim after the 90 days, as long as the request is made within 1 year and 90 days of your accident);
- Notwithstanding the above, it is never a good idea to wait to the last minute to speak with an experienced firefighter attorney about your line-of-duty accident. A prompt investigation can make a world of difference;
- You may have a valid claim even if you have previously injured the same body part in the past. Most firefighters have numerous CD-72s in their file. An exacerbation/aggravation claim can be made in these situations;
- Bringing a claim for a line-of-duty injury will not affect your retirement or pension process.
We are enormously grateful for the work you do. As always, we are here for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us any time you have questions about your legal rights. All consultations are free. You protect us, we protect you.