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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.