Reputable NYC Attorneys Litigate Firefighter Accidents at the Station
Proven representation for job-related injuries
Unlike most workers, firefighters are not part of the workers’ compensation system. Their medical expenses for line-of-duty injuries are paid by the Fire Department, and they receive full pay until they can return to work. However, firefighters do not get compensation for their pain and suffering, and if forced to accept a disability pension, they get a fraction of their pay. For most, this represents a significant loss of income, with no compensation for the loss of their career.
Because there is so much at stake, it’s important for injured firefighters to get accurate, reliable advice about their legal options outside the pension system. Barasch & McGarry is a reputable law firm with a long history of representing injured firefighters. We can assess the circumstances of your injury to determine if you might be eligible for damages in a civil lawsuit, so that you receive full and fair compensation for the harm you’ve suffered.
Finding exceptions to the firefighter’s rule
Historically, New York hewed to the firefighter’s rule, which prohibited firefighters from recovering for most line-of-duty injuries caused by someone’s negligence. Recognizing the harshness of the rule, in 1996, the New York Legislature abolished it, except in cases against a firefighter’s employer. Thus, when a firefighter is injured in his station house as a result of negligence by the department, the firefighter’s rule still applies as a defense to a negligence action. Generally, an individual can sue a landlord under a theory of premises liability when a hazard the landlord should have corrected injures a visitor to the property. But the situation can be more complicated when the same thing happens in a fire station. For example, if a firefighter steps into an uncovered drain in the garage, and is injured, whether he can sue for negligence depends upon what he was doing at the time. Was he rushing to get on the truck to respond to an emergency? Or was he simply walking across the apparatus floor to get from one place to another, with no particular urgency? If he were hustling to the truck to leave for a fire, the department would surely argue the firefighter rule applies.
A firefighter’s accident case improves when the firefighter can show that his injuries resulted from a violation of a statute, such as the New York City Building Code, or New York State Labor Law 27-a, giving rise to a General Municipal Law 205-a case. The firefighter’s rule is not a defense to a 205-a case. In our slip-and-fall case above, a finding by the court that the open drain violated Labor Law 27-a would cast the department in damages for the firefighter’s injury.
Since training to be a firefighter to hone one’s skills also has inherent risks, the firefighter rule is in full force for claims arising from an FDNY training accident.
Contact our knowledgeable New York attorneys for firefighter accident cases
Barasch & McGarry has a long history of successfully representing firefighters in injury cases. To make sure your rights are protected, discuss your case with one of our knowledgeable and experience trial lawyers. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call 844.874.1564 or contact our office online.