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Compensation Options For NYPD Officers Injured In The Line Of Duty

In New York City, almost all employees are covered by workers’ compensation when an injury occurs on the job. However, police and other public workers are excluded from these benefits. The NYPD has its own system for handling line-of-duty injuries and providing compensation for injured officers. Additionally, police officers often have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit when a negligent party caused their injury, even if that party is a co-worker or the department itself.

New York City’s brave police officers willingly risk their lives every day to keep our city’s streets safer. While police work may be an inherently dangerous profession, many work-related accidents in this field could have been prevented if it weren’t for the negligence of another party. Fellow officers and civilians both have a responsibility to ensure that their behavior doesn’t endanger the safety of others.

Accidental Disability Retirement Benefits

Instead of workers’ compensation, police officers and other civil service employees who get seriously injured on the job may apply for Accidental Disability Retirement benefits. While workers’ comp is meant to be temporary, this is a lifetime pension.

ADR is intended for permanently incapacitating work-related injuries that prevent you from returning to your job duties. Unlike workers’ comp, this system takes negligence into account. Injuries that occurred due to your own negligence may not qualify. The accident also must occur due to extraordinary circumstances and those which occurred during the performance of routine job duties also may not qualify.

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How Do You Apply For Accidental Disability Retirement?

The process of applying for ADR is similar to how other private-sector workers apply for compensation after an injury. You must first file a written application, in which you describe your disability and how it happened, along with providing medical records to support your claim. The pension’s Medical Board then reviews your application and medical evidence and then either accept or deny your application. The Pension Board then has the option to either accept the Medical Board’s findings, upgrade the findings, or ask for further review.

This is a complicated process, and many injured officers may struggle to receive their accidental disability retirement pensions. Many claims get denied simply because officers get confused by the application and hearing processes. However, hiring a knowledgeable work injury lawyer with experience helping NYC police officers apply for pensions can help make the process much easier.

Facts About Accidental Disability Retirement

In order for an injured officer to be eligible for ADR, they must meet the following requirements:

  • the officer must be in active service;
  • the officer must have a minimum of 5 years of credited service;
  • the officer cannot be eligible for Normal Service Retirement;
  • the officer must also qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits.

ADR benefits are calculated at 50% of the officer's final average salary, less 50% of any Social Security Disability Benefits.

Without the assistance of an attorney, it can be very difficult for injured police officers to prove that they meet the requirements set forth by the Pension Board, even with help from their Union. In addition to helping a client obtain ADR, an attorney can review a case and determine if an additional lawsuit can be pursued that could provide the client with additional compensation.

Injuries That Commonly Result In Disability

Any injury or combination of injuries can result in disability, however, the most common include:

  • spinal cord damage;
  • herniated disc;
  • traumatic brain injury;
  • hip injury;
  • knee injury;
  • mental health disorders.

Many of these injuries are “invisible”, meaning that it isn’t obvious that the patient is suffering from extreme pain.

When Can NYPD Officers Sue For Work Injuries?

In certain situations, injured police officers can file personal injury lawsuits for financial compensation outside of ADR.

New York General Municipal Law §205-E states that officers may sue anyone who directly or indirectly caused their injury by violating a law, including the city, their employer, and fellow officers. In a recent example, NYPD Officer Vincent Ferrante sued the city for a career-ending knee injury he suffered while driving a police van. Ferrante struck both knees on an exposed dashboard, which he says he had warned superior officers about before the injury.

Like all other citizens, police officers also have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against negligent civilians and businesses responsible for causing their injuries. Common examples of negligence which can lead to police officer injuries include:

  • Car accidents with negligent drivers – NYPD officers spend large portions of their days on the road, navigating NYC’s hectic and congested streets. Like any other car accident victim, these officers have the right to seek compensation from negligent drivers who cause accidents. For example, if an officer was struck by a driver who ran a stop sign, that driver could be held liable for damages.
  • Property owners who fail to address hazardous conditions – All property owners have a duty to keep their premises free of hazards which could cause an injury. In Nassau County, a police officer recently recovered $1.5 million after he slipped and fell on snow-covered steps when responding to a burglar alarm.
  • Defective equipment – If an officer is injured because of defective equipment, such as malfunctioning auto parts, the manufacturer could be held liable under product liability.

Do Injured Police Officers Need Work Injury Lawyers?

Despite their brave sacrifice, many seriously injured police officers struggle to receive the compensation they need and rightfully deserve. If you’re recently been injured in the line of duty and you’re unsure of your options or have had your claim for accidental disability retirement denied, Banville Law’s work injury and personal injury lawyers can help. We know how to navigate the complex process of applying for civil service benefits and we have helped recover millions in personal injury lawsuits.

Those who protect and serve others deserve to be protected when an injury impairs their ability to work. That’s why our legal team is proud to fight for the rights of injured NYPD officers. To begin planning for life after your injury, contact us today for a free consultation.

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