Florida Courts Not Applying “Firefighter’s Rule” for Preventing Cases Filed by an Injured Emergency Responder

A rule that is generally accepted is that people don’t have a duty to help with the rescue efforts of another person who is in danger. However, if someone passing by does make the decision to help in the rescue efforts, the party who needs to be rescued has a certain duty of care to the individual or individuals who have made the decision to help them. This means that if a would-be rescuer suffers an injury while helping the party in danger, that individual may be held liable for the rescuer’s injuries.

firefighters rules in courts

In the state of Florida, this is a rule that broadly applies. This means that even firefighters who suffer an injury during the course of their employment may be able to receive compensation if they suffer injuries caused by negligent homeowners. However, there is a recent case that tests the limits of this particular rescue doctrine.

The Case Facts

The plaintiff in this situation was a police officer who was injured in a high-speed accident when responding to a single-vehicle crash. Before the accident, the officer received a call that an accident had occurred and that the southbound lanes of the highway were blocked. The location of the accident was given to the officer.

When the officer responded to the scene, he noticed headlights coming from approximately a mile away. He made the assumption that they belonged to the disabled vehicle, however, the lights were actually another vehicle that had stopped to help the victim. The officer came up on the accident at 104 mph and did not see the vehicle that was disabled until it was too late. At a later time, it was discovered that the person operating the vehicle that was disabled was intoxicated and they had fallen asleep while driving.

The officer wound up filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. But, in court it was determined that under the firefighter’s rule the police officer would not be allowed to recover compensation for the injuries because he was working at the time the accident occurred. Keep in mind that this particular incident occurred in the state of Kansas, and the firefighter’s rule doesn’t apply the same amount of force in the state of Florida, which means the case may have been determined differently if it occurred there.

Have You Suffered an Injury Trying to Help Someone in Danger?

If you, or someone you love, has suffered an injury while trying to help someone else who was in danger, you may be able to recover monetary compensation. Unfortunately, the laws are not always cut-and-dry, which is why it is so important to hire a personal injury attorney to help with your case. They can review the facts and help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

To learn more about this law and other laws pertaining to accident cases, contact personal injury lawyer Scott J. Sternberg by calling 561-687-5660 right away.

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