The law in Massachusetts is clear: The lawful orders of a Massachusetts police officer must be followed, especially when making an arrest (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 268 Section 32B). As Massachusetts police officers know too well, though, there are frequent confrontations with those who refuse to comply peacefully, especially when alcohol is involved. A report by the National Institutes of Health reveals family and domestic violence affects 10 million people in the United States each year. This case was no exception…
A few nights before Christmas, Mrs. Cuto calls her local police department for help getting her intoxicated husband back into their home. The responding Massachusetts police officer, Frank Sampson, finds Mr. Cuto in his backyard lying down on his back in the snow. Officer Sampson assists Mr. Cuto to his feet but he promptly loses his balances and falls backward. Mr. Cuto screams from the top of lungs as Officer Sampson tries to assist Mr. Cuto back into his home. With neighbors looking on, Mr. Cuto violently resists and takes a swing at Officer Sampson. Mr. Cuto grabs hold of Officer Sampson’s duty belt near his taser and pepper spray, forcing Officer Sampson to defensively strike Mr. Cuto. Officer Sampson takes Mr. Cuto down to the icy ground, injuring his right wrist in the process. Finally, Mr. Cuto is handcuffed and loaded into the police cruiser. Immediately following this incident, Officer Sampson notices sharp pains in his dominant right wrist and was unable to hold anything.
IMMEDIATELY GATHERING VIDEO RECORDINGS, PHOTOS, AND OTHER EVIDENCE IS CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF MASSACHUSETTS POLICE INJURY CASES
Fortunately, Officer Sampson’s cruiser was outfitted with cameras, which recorded much of the incident. The recordings clearly evidenced Mr. Cuto’s extreme intoxication and uncooperativeness. Mr. Cuto admitted to charges of disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, and assault.
As for Officer Sampson, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital where a CT scan confirmed a wrist fracture near the base of his right thumb. Officer Sampson’s wrist was immobilized in a cast for about three months followed by a month of occupational therapy. Due to his injuries, Officer Sampson was unable to work for over four months. The injury claim we presented for Officer Sampson to Mr. Cuto’s homeowners insurance company included lost earnings from details and overtime hours he was unable to earn while he was out injured. We ultimately resolved Officer Sampson’s case for $71,000 with Mr. Cuto’s homeowner insurance company.
INJURED MASSACHUSETTS POLICE OFFICERS ARE LEGALLY PERMITTED TO PURSUE THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ON-DUTY INJURIES
If someone who works for a city or town is injured on the job, they are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits, which will cover their medical expenses and pay them a portion of their lost wages (M.G.L.A. Chapter 41, Sections 100 and 111F). However, workers compensation benefits do not cover all of an injured employee’s damages, such as pain and suffering, and the loss of enjoyment of everyday life. An injured employee receiving worker’s compensation benefits is prevented by law from making a negligence claim for injuries caused by their employer or a fellow employee who may have caused the injury; however, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Law provides an injured employee the right of to pursue such a claim against any third party person or company who partially or solely caused their injury, which occurred in the course of their employment (M.G.L.A. Chapter 152, Section 15).
For those who are unaware, homeowners’ insurance policies typically provide personal liability coverage for injuries negligently caused by the homeowner or the homeowner’s relative resident. A common type of injury claim against a homeowner’s policy would be a slip and fall on ice on the insured premises itself, or, as we saw in Officer Sampson’s case, injuries caused by resisting arrest. Furthermore, the resisting arrest need not occur on the premises for the homeowner’s insurance policy to apply.
INJURED ON DUTY AS A MASSACHUSETTS POLICE OFFICER, MASSACHUSETTS FIRE FIGHTER, OR MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEE? CONTACT BALLIN LAW FOR A FREE, CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION
If you or anyone you know has been injured at work or otherwise, please reach out to us as soon as possible. Regardless of whether the person injured at work is an injured Massachusetts police officer, our greatest advantage is often our ability to get out in front of the insurers to seal in the truth before they can obscure it. Visit BallinLaw to learn more about how we help injured Massachusetts police officers and other workers. Injured Massachusetts police officers can learn more about their rights by watching a recording of our free webinar regarding their rights to make personal injury claims when they are injured on duty.
In order to protect the privacy of the injured officer and witnesses, all names have been changed. Any resemblance to names of real persons, past or present, is merely coincidental and not intended. The injured Massachusetts police officer agreed to have this article published in order that public safety officers around the Commonwealth be better educated about their legal rights to compensation when injured.