Emergency responders and law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to protect the public. When first responders arrive at the scene of an accident, their job is to rescue people from dangerous situations. But what happens when they get injured themselves? In some cases, the injured public safety officer may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. When the unthinkable happens – if a first responder dies in the line of duty – their family may have a wrongful death claim.
Compensation for First Responder Injuries
When a first responder gets injured in the line of duty, they have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits from their employer. Compared to a personal injury lawsuit, most workers’ compensation payments are minimal and may not fully cover the cost of medical bills and lost wages. If the injury was caused by the negligent actions of a third party (such as a reckless commercial truck driver), the first responder may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the first responder loses their life due to the negligence of a third party, their family may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf. An experienced accident personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you if you have a case and determine the best way to get compensation. It is the job of our attorneys to research your case and provide you with your options in any state where you were injured.
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What Is the “Fireman’s Rule” and How Does It Impact My Case?
The “Fireman’s Rule,” (also known as the “Firefighters Rule,” “Police Officers’ Rule,” “Rescue Rule,” or “Rescue Doctrine”) is a legal doctrine in the United States that prevents public safety officers from bringing a personal injury lawsuit for an injury that occurs while carrying out their duties. The status of the rule varies by state and laws can change over time. Many states have eliminated the rule entirely and in states where the rule is still in effect, exceptions often include situations where the the entity responsible for their injury had conduct was willful, wanton, or grossly negligent.
As of April 2023, the following 18 states do not have some form of the Fireman’s Rule in their statutes:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
We have obtained 75+ separate verdicts and settlements greater than $1 million:
We obtained this settlement for a man who lost his arm and leg in a gas pipeline explosion.
Our client suffered substantial injuries after ingesting a defective product.
Our client suffered burn injuries over 60% of his body in an explosion caused by improperly-odorized propane.
We represented seven children who suffered intestinal injuries as a result of a defective food product.
Our client suffered burn injuries over 50% of her body when a compressed natural gas line ruptured in a factory, causing an explosion.
We won this verdict for a child with kidney damage from E. coli.
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About the Pritzker Hageman Accident Lawyers
The lawyers at Pritzker Hageman help injured people and their families get the justice and compensation they deserve. Our legal team has won over 70 multi-million-dollar cases for our clients in some of the largest recoveries in the United States. Pritzker Hageman was named one of the “Best Law Firms in America” by U.S. News & World Report for our work representing injured people in accident lawsuits nationwide. Our law firm’s record of success is based on our decades of experience, the firm’s access to world-class experts, and the use of cutting-edge tools to recreate and model the dangerous conditions responsible for our client’s injuries.
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First Responder Accident News
Fire Rescue Helicopter Crash in Pompano Beach Kills 2, Injures 4
August 28, 2023 – Four people were injured and two died when a Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue helicopter crashed into an apartment building in Pompano Beach, Florida. Officials said the chopper was headed to a crash scene in North Lauderdale where a vehicle hit a bus stop at Prospect Road and State Road 7. The chopper went down after it experienced an engine failure shortly after taking off from Pompano Air Park. Sadly, two people died in the crash, including a female apartment resident and Broward Sheriff’s Office Captain Terryson Jackson, who served Broward County as a flight paramedic for 19 years. Two crew members onboard, 37-year-old Daron Roche and 31-year-old Mikael Chaguaceda, were transported to Broward Health North with non-life-threatening injuries. Two male residents of the apartment that the helicopter crashed into were also taken to the hospital. The NTSB and the FAA have been investigating the scene.
3 People Injured After Semi Rear-Ends Ambulance Near Shepherdsville, KY
April 26, 2023 – Two EMTs and a patient were injured when a semi-truck rear-ended an ambulance on I-65 near Shepherdsville, Kentucky. At the time of the crash, the ambulance was responding to a car accident. The ambulance was on the right shoulder of the interstate when the semi rear-ended it. The two first responders and the patient are in stable condition.
2 Crew Members Die After Medical Helicopter Crashes in Shelby County
April 2, 2023 – Two crew members died and a third was severely injured when a medical helicopter crashed in Shelby County, Alabama. Shortly before 9:30 AM, a Life Saver helicopter out of Sylacauga was dispatched to transport a hiker suffering from breathing complications and chest pains near Bear Creek Road (County Road 43). Shelby County deputies were already on the scene securing a landing zone for the helicopter. When the helicopter attempted to land, it crashed and caught fire.
Three crew members were pulled from the debris. Sadly the helicopter pilot, 63-year-old Marc Gann, died at the scene. Samuel Russell, a registered nurse from Goodwater, died at a nearby hospital. A female medic was also transported to the hospital where she is in critical condition. The hiker, who was the original patient, was transported separately to a hospital. The crash is under investigation by the NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration.
South Dakota State Trooper Struck by Semi During Winter Storm
March 16, 2023 – Sergeant Chris Lindner of the South Dakota Highway Patrol was responding to a crash on I-90 near MP 395 when a semi-truck lost control and slid into his patrol car. Sgt. Lindner told Fox News that he parked on the shoulder to complete a crash report when the semi careened into his vehicle. Other troopers rescued Sgt. Lindner from his vehicle, which was trapped underneath the truck. Sgt. Lindner was rushed to a Sioux Falls hospital by ambulance. He sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the crash, which is under investigation by the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office.
The semi-driver was cited for overdriving the road conditions. Minnehaha County Sheriff Captain Adam Zishka told KCAU 9 News that crashes like this are preventable. He said, “This was a clear-cut case of overdriving in the road conditions, going too fast for the snow, for the whiteout conditions.
March 14, 2023 – Eagan Officer Kade Eggum was hospitalized in critical condition after a semi-truck struck his squad car on I-35E near Pilot Knobb Road. At the time of the crash, Officer Eggum was responding to an emergency call with his lights activated. When he attempted a U-turn onto Yankee Doodle Road, his patrol car was struck by a northbound semi-truck. Officer Eggum, who recently celebrated one year on the force, was rushed to Regions Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
On March 23, the Eagan Police Department posted a Facebook update that said, “He still has a lot of recovery ahead of him but appears to be doing remarkably well.” After spending nearly three weeks in the hospital, Officer Eggum was released on April 2 to continue his recovery at home.
June 8, 2021 – An EMS worker and a teen patient died after a dump truck hit an ambulance at a deadly intersection in Lawrence Township, Minnesota. The dump truck struck the passenger side of the ambulance at the intersection of County Road 336 and County Road 57. Sadly, 51-year-old Troy Boettcher and 17-year-old Joseph Latimer died in the crash. The ambulance driver, 28-year-old Kimberly Hake, sustained life-threatening injuries.
This crash happened at the same intersection where a semi-truck killed DNR Officer Sarah Grell last month. After the two fatal crashes, Itasca County started looking into safety improvements at the intersection. Minnesota State Representative Jeffrey Igo said in a statement, “It’s clear that safety at this intersection must be improved and I am committed to working with MnDOT and local officials to make sure that significant changes are made in the near future to prevent further accidents at this location.”