According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty every 60 hours. In 2014, 18 officers died as the result of being shot, while 48 officers died because of a car or motorcycle crash or being struck by a vehicle outside their squad cars. Unfortunately, police officers, deputy sheriffs, and state troopers are at an increased risk of being involved in motor vehicle collisions. Because police officers, deputy sheriffs, and state troopers have an increased risk, law enforcement officers should ensure they have adequate insurance coverage if tragedy should strike.
If an officer’s patrol car is struck by a civilian vehicle, the injured officer has a variety of legal claims and options for recovery. First, if the accident occurs while the Minnesota officer is on duty, the officer has a workers’ compensation claim. Work comp is the primary payor and is responsible for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment designed to cure or relieve the effects of the officer’s injury. Work comp covers certain wage loss benefits, but does not cover all the injured officer’s monetary losses nor does it provide for pain and suffering.