Massachusetts State Police troopers have the right to make third party claims against responsible parties who injure them, just like any other person. The fact that the injury occurs in the line of duty does not mean that the trooper cannot recover for their injuries. Section 8.1.10 of the Rules and Regulations of the Department of State Police specifically recognizes the right of state troopers to pursue claims against “the persons or organizations responsible for the accident or injury.”
State troopers face the risk of injury in a wide variety of situations. There is obviously the risk of accidents involving motor vehicles, but those are not the only cases we handle. We have successfully recovered for police officers, including state troopers, for all sorts of injuries sustained in the line of duty, including being struck by heavy equipment on road details, making an arrest of subjects who resisted arrest, and foot chases of subjects who have been stopped or pursued.
One particular risk that state troopers must face comes from patrolling some of the busiest high-speed highways in the state – the Mass Pike, Interstates 91, 93 and 95, and U.S. Route 1. With vehicles routinely traveling at 70 m.p.h. or more, the stakes are high for these officers. There is a risk of very serious injuries in high-speed motor vehicle crashes, and even greater risk for troopers who have to pull over to the side of the highway and get out of their cruisers at a crash scene or to issue a citation.
Because of these risks, it is critically important for state troopers (like all police officers) to make sure they have adequate insurance coverage on their own personal automobile insurance policies. In particular, the policies must have adequate amounts of uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist benefits coverages. Uninsured motorist benefit protection provides insurance coverage to the policy holder if the other driver has no insurance at all, in situations involving stolen vehicles and hit-and-run drivers. Underinsured motorist benefits protection provides additional insurance coverage if the other driver has only limited insurance – Massachusetts requires only $20,000 in insurance coverage, which is insufficient to cover anything other than a very minor injury. We recommend that everyone carry at least $250,000 in uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance in their auto policies. Troopers should note that the Department of State Police has no reimbursement rights, pursuant Section 8.1.10 of the Rules and Regulations, for compensation collected from a Trooper’s own automobile insurance policy for uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits.
Contact our police injury attorneys if you are a State Trooper who has been injured on duty. Since 1988, we have successfully represented thousands of injured local police and troopers on a wide variety of cases. These cases are handled on a contingent fee basis which means no money is owed unless we are successful in collecting money compensation on the case. Contact us now for a free and confidential consultation.