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Firefighter Injury: What to Do

What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in the Line of Duty

Being a firefighter requires courage and resolve. You protect our city, both its people and its property, by putting your lives and physical health in harm’s way each day. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2014 alone, 63,350 firefighter injuries were reported in the United States among 1.1 million registered firefighters.

Firefighter injuries are quite diverse. Often, firefighters suffer injuries- such as fractures, muscle tears, burns, sprains, and strains. Many firefighters also aggravate old injuries that were previously without symptoms.

In addition, a particular “job” could expose a firefighter to toxins and hazardous conditions like carbon monoxide, smoke, asbestos, fast-burning chemicals, and radioactive material.

In some cases, as we have all too often seen, these injuries can be fatal.

Although, as firefighters you know the risks of the job, you should be prepared as to what steps to take in the event of a line of duty injury. Following these steps provides you with an accurate record in the future, which will prove important when you are before the Pension Board or in the event that you seek compensation for your injuries through a lawsuit.

There are several basic steps every firefighter should take after suffering an injury in the line of duty:

  1. Report your injuries to the Supervisor and Take a Mark:
    Even if you think you can “walk it off” or that the injury might resolve on its own in the future, take a mark. Often, the severity of an injury doesn’t manifest until days later. Don’t regret failing to properly record and report your line of duty injury.
  2. Accurately document the accident and injury in a CD-72/73: In addition to taking a mark, if you have suffered an injury at a job, it is imperative that you fill out a CD-72/73 and that you do so accurately. These reports often explain the history of how you obtained a given injury and in some cases are referenced years later by the Pension Board.  Additionally, if you decide to bring a personal injury case relating to the accident, it is always helpful to have an accurate account of the circumstances of the accident from the time at which it was most clear in your mind.
  3. See a medical professional: It is important that, if you believe you are hurt, you report the injury and go to the Medical Office, as soon as possible. Staying on line with an injury is a danger to yourself and your fellow firefighters.  It is prudent to have a doctor determine the extent of your injury and ensure that you have the proper treatment and avoid making the injury worse.
  4. Contact an attorney: While firefighters understand that physical risks are a part of the job, the truth is that you, as firefighters, have rights too.  You have a right to expect that the building you entered is maintained safely, or that the Codes, Rules and Regulations of the City of New York are being followed by the parties involved, including property owners, the City, and motor vehicle operators- to name a few.  If these entities fail you, you have a right to recover for the injuries that you suffered while on the job.  Thus, you and your family deserve to have the circumstances of your accident and injury analyzed by an experienced lawyer. He or she will explain your legal rights and help you choose the best way to achieve the compensation you deserve.

No firm can match the experience or success of Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C. in this unique area of personal injury litigation. If you are injured in the line of duty, contact us immediately. We will fight for your rights and for the highest possible compensation.

CD-72/73

A CD-72/73 report is your opportunity to accurately record the circumstances of your accident. These reports are saved by the FDNY and are often used by the Pension Board to help determine whether injuries are job and/or accident-related.

The accuracy of this report may be considered when the Pension Board weighs whether to award a firefighter accidental or ordinary disability. A firefighter is entitled to accidental disability retirement when the disabling condition is a natural and proximate result of an accidental, on the job, injury.

An accident has been defined as a “sudden, fortuitous mischance, unexpected, out of the ordinary, and injurious in impact.”

These reports are also used in the context of a personal injury suit. When a firefighter’s account of how he or she is injured faces a challenge, the CD-72/73 is often admissible in court. It can serve as the pivotal piece of evidence that confirms the veracity of the firefighter’s description of the circumstances of the accident.

Recording your accident and ensuring the accuracy of that record is of paramount importance. We can help. Please contact us for a consultation.

205-A

Firefighters who are injured in the line of duty can recover compensation for their injuries under a statute that is unique to firefighters- General Municipal Law Section 205-a.

Under General Municipal Law Section 205-a, a firefighter has a right of recovery if the accident that caused his/her injury, “occurs directly or indirectly as a result of any neglect, omission, willful or culpable negligence of any person or persons in failing to comply with the requirements of any of the statutes, ordinances, rules, orders and requirements of the federal, state, county, village, town or city governments…”

For a firefighter to receive the protection of this provision, it is of the utmost importance to identify which codes and statutes were violated at a given incident.  Often, this process involves both a thorough investigation and lawyers with the experience handling cases of this nature.  At Sullivan Papain, we pride ourselves on having the knowledge and track record to ensure each firefighter’s case is handled effectively and correctly.

If you have been injured in the line of duty, call Sullivan Papain for a free evaluation.

Negligence

In addition to General Municipal Law Section 205-a, firefighters, like civilians, can recover if a party’s negligence caused that firefighter’s injuries. Negligence is often referred to as a lack of ordinary care. It is a failure to use that degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would have used under the same circumstances.

While negligence can exist anywhere, it often manifests itself in situations where a building owner failed to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition and as a result of this neglect, a firefighter is injured.

If you have been injured in the line of duty, call Sullivan Papain for a free evaluation.

Wills

SPBMC drafts wills for active firefighters and their spouses for no fee. In offering this free service, we hope each firefighter recognizes the importance of preparing for the unforeseen tragedy. You protect us on a daily basis. Let us help you do the same for your family.

WTC Related Illness

It is not easy for people to make claims directly to the VCF. The process of filing a claim requires careful documentation of one’s injuries and proof of eligibility.

The VCF, via its website, tells prospective claimants that “Your attorney is in the best position to let you know exactly what has been submitted to the VCF and when it was submitted, and can update you on any requests the VCF has made for additional information. Your attorney can also confirm whether or not the VCF has issued a decision on your claim and the timing of that decision.”

In other words, having a lawyer gives you distinct advantages in submitting, tracking, evaluating and winning your claim.

We know how important experienced legal representation is in this process. Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo PC has been representing 9/11 World Trade Center first responders and rescue and recovery workers from the very beginning.

Visit Our WTC Related Illness Site