On April 5, 2009, a police officer riding his motorcycle was seriously injured in an auto accident in Arizona when he was hit by a woman driving her car. According to a report, the police officer is a 13-year veteran of the Tempe Police Department and was in stable condition after being taken to the hospital.
Arizona citizens pay lip service to the fact that we have great respect for firefighters and police officers. Most people would agree that these people who put their lives on the line to protect us deserve to be treated with a certain amount of respect. They have certainly earned it in most cases, like the one mentioned above.
Why is it, then, that police officers and firefighters are actually afforded less protection than other Arizona citizens under Arizona law if they are hurt in an automobile accident or injured on-the-job? There is an outdated rule known as the Firefighter’s Rule. It does apply to police officers as well, according to our recent Arizona Supreme Court decision. The Firefighter’s Rule basically says that a firefighter or police officer who is injured on the job in Arizona as a result of doing their job is not entitled to bring a lawsuit for their injuries. Therefore, if a firefighter or police officer is injured while working, there is a chance they would lose all their rights to make a recovery against the other person’s insurance company. This is such an outdated rule that many states around the country have come to the point where they are actually eliminating it. At the same time, Arizona courts are actually expanding the rule and explicitly making it clear that the Firefighter’s Rule will apply to police as well as firemen in the State of Arizona.
While this is not a surprise, as the Firefighter’s Rule usually does extend beyond just firemen and to the police, it is a shame. Also, it is a shame that so many police officers who are injured on the job do not even realize that they have a right to bring a claim. We have helped multiple police officers injured on the job, but we often learn that their counterparts do not even think they have a right to bring a claim. However, the scope of the Firefighter’s Rule is narrow. An Arizona personal injury lawyer that can help police officers after these accidents is able to educate most police officers and firefighters about the different categories that these types of claims fall into.
In many cases, after a serious injury from an auto accident, the person who was injured, even on the job and even as a police officer, will still have a right to receive full compensation. Therefore, it is a mistake to assume that there is not a right to fair and full compensation. The first step after an auto accident in Arizona is to consult with an experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer who is a good fit for you. At Breyer Law Offices, P.C., we give our clients and those who call us for a free consultation an honest analysis of whether a claim exists. Call us today to find out.