Can injured police officers or emergency responders file a lawsuit if they are hurt on the job?

injured firefighter in firehouse

Police officers, firefighters, and paramedics are all entitled to workers' compensation benefits when they are injured on the job. Unfortunately, these injuries are often severe due to the nature of their work, and the financial losses incurred may go beyond the payments provided by workers' compensation. In these cases, it is worth considering a third-party personal injury claim against a negligent party.

On-Duty Injuries That Could Lead to a Third-Party Claim

Emergency responders and police officers may file a claim against members of the public if they have suffered:

  • Violence. Police officers may suffer acts of violence as they attempt to keep the peace, including animal attacks, stabbing incidents, shootings, or fatal injuries.
  • Falls. A slip, trip, or fall can result in injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to head trauma and spinal cord injuries from falling from a height (such as a collapsing building).
  • Car accidents. EMTs may be struck by passing cars while administering to victims at a crash scene. In these cases, responders may sue an at-fault driver to recover the costs of their injuries.
  • Overexertion injuries. Long hours and daily stress can take a high physical and mental toll on the body. First responders may be owed compensation for heart problems or damage to tendons, ligaments, or joints sustained in the course of their duties.
  • Struck-by injuries. Officers attempting to make an arrest may be struck with weapons or heavy objects, resulting in broken bones, back injuries, crush injuries, or nerve damage.
  • Exposure to harmful substances. Exposure to chemicals, toxins, drug components, or radiation can have long-lasting effects on a worker. In addition to lung damage and chemical burns, some hazards can result in the formation of certain cancers or an inability to bear children.
  • Fires and explosions. Home and commercial fires place responders at risk of smoke inhalation, burns and scarring, and severe emotional trauma. Firefighters may take action against a property owner if they suffered injuries due to building code violations, arson, or other forms of negligence.

If you have suffered a serious injury in the line of duty, our lawyers can discuss your next steps in your free initial consultation—and we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To learn more about your claim, please fill out the short contact form on this page or download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.