Injured in the Line of Duty

Police, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency responders risk injury and death on a daily basis. And, while the recent injuries sustained while on duty by two Maryland law enforcement officers serve as a reminder of this danger, it is important to note that the recovery period and paying medical bills after an injury may be just as great of concern as actually being injured while on duty.

While responding to a domestic violence call, an officer was shot by a man wielding a rifle. Fortunately, the officer did not sustain serious injuries.

During the same week, Maryland state trooper Byron Tribue was attacked after responding to a single-vehicle car crash. After arriving at the accident scene to investigate as to whether the accident resulted in injuries, Tribue reached into the backseat of his cruiser to grab his hat. The driver involved in the accident ran around the car, pulled out a kitchen-style knife and attacked Tribue through the open window. In the course of the struggle, Tribue's hands were stabbed by the knife.

Likewise, firefighters, paramedics and police officers are often injured while responding to emergency calls by third parties driving their vehicles in a negligent manner.

A workers' compensation claim will generally be initiated when a law enforcement officer, firefighter or emergency response worker is injured by a third party while on the job. The person who caused the injury might also be sued depending on the circumstances.

Under the Maryland Labor and Employment code, when a person other than the employer is liable for the injury, the covered employee may: (1) file a claim for compensation against the employer; and (2) bring an action for damages against the person liable for the injury, Md. Ann. Code, LE § 9-902( c ). Further, if the injured employee brings a third party action, but is not fully compensated because the third party is either uninsured or underinsured, the employee may also invoke the UM/UIM benefits provided in his or her insurance policy to attempt to cover the difference.

If you have been injured while working in law enforcement or as a firefighter, paramedic, or other emergency responder, especially if your injury is caused by someone other than your employer, you will need time to heal and money to pay bills. Contact an experienced attorney in Maryland to discuss what help is available for your specific type of injury and to discuss whether to seek workers compensation benefits, damages from the third party or a personal insurance claim.