Reputable Attorneys Represent Injured NYPD Officers
Proud advocates for New York’s Finest in post-9/11 injury cases
New York City is fortunate to have the most professional police force in the world. For decades, the NYPD has made New York the safest large city in the world. So, it is with a sense of great gratitude that Barasch & McGarry provides legal services to NYPD officers injured in the line of duty in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. Our attorneys have more than 100 years of combined legal experience. When we accept your case, we focus our efforts on securing the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Help for NYPD responders suffering WTC illnesses and cancers
Our firm has been in the forefront of fighting for compensation for 9/11 first responders who developed illnesses related to the toxic environment at Ground Zero. The James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, which established the World Trade Center Health Program, and the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), were named for our client, James Zadroga. The late NYPD detective was one of 84 NYPD deaths attributed to post-9/11 illness. In the years since the VCF opened, we have helped hundreds of first responders, including EMTs, police officers, and firefighters, qualify for millions of dollars in medical benefits and monetary awards.
If you are considering filing a claim with the VCF, don’t delay. The VCF has recognized that 67 cancers, including prostate cancer, are linked to the toxic dust that was present at Ground Zero. To be eligible for compensation, you must register with VCF within two years of your diagnosis.
New York law allows NYPD officers to sue negligent parties
It took a very long time for New York to recognize a police officer’s right to sue for negligent harm, under a variety of scenarios such as:
- Auto accidents
- Dog bites
- Slip/trip and fall accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Product defects
- Structural collapses
Originally, the courts held that officers assumed the risks of their jobs and had to deal with the consequences. But since a total bar on lawsuits led to many unfair results, the courts allowed suits where employment in the police department did not increase the likelihood of injury but merely furnished the occasion for the injury to happen.
This was known as the firefighter’s rule (it applied equally to FDNY). A classic example used to illustrate its operation was that of a cop on the beat being struck on the head by a flower pot that falls from a windowsill. Employment as an officer did not increase the likelihood of that type of injury; the accident happened merely because the officer happened to be there, and so the firefighter’s rule did not bar the officer from suing the property owner for his injury. On the other hand, the firefighter’s rule will bar a negligence action by an officer who trips on a broken sidewalk while chasing a suspect.
It was only in 1989 that the legislature enacted General Municipal Law § 205-e, giving police officers the right to sue when some person’s statutory violation causes an unnecessary injury. In 1996, the legislature enacted General Obligations Law 11-1-06, abolishing the firefighter’s rule except in cases against a police officer’s employer.
Awarding compensation for negligence isn’t “paying cops twice”
In our legal practice, we run up against this objection all the time: “Why should we pay a cop (or a firefighter) for responding to an emergency? Isn’t that what we’re already paying them for?” Certainly, taxpayers pay responders to respond, and that requires facing inherent dangers. But negligence suits don’t seek additional compensation for those inherent dangers. Negligence suits hold wrongdoers accountable for creating dangers that responders should never be required to face.
Police negligence lawsuits serve the public interest
General Municipal Law § 205-e serves the public interest because it acts as an additional deterrent to law-breaking. If property owners know they open themselves to civil liability by violating health and safety statutes, they are more likely to follow the law. Greater compliance with health and safety regulations makes the city safer for everyone.
Contact our NYPD injury law firm
If you or an NYPD officer you love has suffered a serious injury, Barasch & McGarry can help you understand your legal options. One of our knowledgeable attorneys can determine whether a lawsuit is possible and what is the best way to proceed. To schedule a free consultation, call 844.874.1564 or contact our office online.