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Cops and Their Rights


When you put up your right hand and took the oath of office as a cop to protect and serve, you did not surrender your rights as a citizen.  You have the same rights as every other worker in the event you get injured on the job.  A line of duty injury is not part of the job.  Your department, like any other employer is responsible for providing work comp benefits.  Generally, if you are injured in the course and scope of employment, even if you cause your own injury, work comp benefits will apply.  These work comp benefits are statutory.  They are not a gift or charity; they are the law.
 
In the event you are injured due to negligence of others, you can bring a claim again the person who hurt you or the owner of a dog that bit you.  I have a separate section on this site for MVA injuries but the same rules of negligence apply whether you’re on duty or off duty.  If you're handling a call and get injured due to someone’s negligence, you can bring a claim against the person who hurt you.  If you get bitten by a dog, home owners or renter’s insurance could be available.  In both cases, that coverage could be used to pay back work comp for the benefits they laid out and also pay you for the pain, scarring, suffering and inconvenience that work comp does not cover.
 
Even though most people wouldn't risk their lives for a million dollars and you do for much less, you are not an unpaid volunteer.  Hopefully, you can complete your full career with no major injuries.  If not, you should be paid for the full amount of what is taken from you and your family. The full amount that the law allows in worker’s compensation benefits and in civil court benefits are your right, just like your right to be paid overtime when you work it.  It takes some simple action on your part to protect your rights; don’t regret protecting yourself.
 
To be a cop is to be the first responder, to be the helper people need.  You’re the one everyone looks for when they need help.  As a result, cops are usually the last ones to take care of themselves.  Most cops don’t want to make a big deal about any injury or about anything they do.  Humility is admirable to a point.

Knowing this, imagine the advice you’d give your partner or co-worker if they had an injury, and take that advice yourself.  Report your injuries when they happen, and see your doctor.  Do the right thing for yourself and your family.

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