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State Police Car Struck | I-66 car accidentCar Accidents Involving Police Vehicles

When a police officer is hurt in a car accident at work, driving a department vehicle, that officer has a worker's compensation claim, as long as he or she is in the scope of the officer's employment.  In Virginia, worker's comp cases are very unique animals, under the law. These cases are heard before the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission, and then are appealed to the Court of Appeals. These cases are handled by experienced workers' compensation attorneys, who often focus their practice because of how specific a practice area it is.

However, what a lot of police officers don't know is that in addition to the workers' compensation case, you may also have a third party liability claim if the person who injured you was negligent, and you as an officer were not. This is a different kind of case from workers comp., and handled in a very different manner. The important thing to remember is that you have the possibility of asserting BOTH CLAIMS, not just one or the other!

If you as a police officer, deputy sheriff, state trooper, or other law enforcement officer/first responder have been hurt by a motor vehicle while at work, speak to an experienced team of attorneys and staff members who have also spent time on the job.  Call today for a free consultation - 703-879-5910!

Meet the Law Enforcement Team at Blaszkow Legal

Retired Police Officer | Car Accident Attorney Ted AsburyBlaszkow Legal is unique in that we have a team specially designed to help law enforcement officers in Virginia, Maryland, and DC who have been hurt at work, due to the negligence of another person.

Because we have been there and done that, we are uniquely placed to help you get the compensation you deserve for your line of duty injury.

This team is lead by Attorney C. Ted Asbury, who served as both a patrol officer and detective in New Mexico, and now practices civil law.

Retired Police OfficerHe is assisted by Matt, the firm's Chief Paralegal and Investigator, who is also a former law enforcement officer. Matt began his career as a municipal police officer, and later specialized in traffic enforcement and accident investigations.

Workers Compensation Claims in Virginia

All law enforcement agencies have workers compensation insurance, because it is mandated under the law. This even includes private law enforcement officers, such as special conservators of the peace (SCOPs) at the Mount Vernon Estate, and other places. When you are hurt in the line of duty, you make a report to your commanding officer, and seek out immediate medical treatment such as an urgent care or the emergency room. After that, the follow-up care that you need will generally be overseen by the Workers Compensation Insurance Carrier. Often times, for each treatment that you need, they will give you a panel, or group, of three doctors/providers to choose from, and then you go to one of those providers. Your treatment may last a couple of weeks, or it may last a couple of months. In more serious cases, it could even prevent you from returning to law enforcement.

A Virginia workers compensation lawyer is going to help oversee your medical treatment and make sure that you are getting the treatment that you need to get better. The workers comp lawyer is also going to work to begin making your claim, and preparing to go before the commission, in an attempt to settle, or potentially litigate your case.

That is the workers comp process, in a nutshell, of a Line of Duty injury.  The third party liability claim, however, is handled in a different way, because the rules and laws applicable to these cases are vastly different.

The Difference Between a Virginia Workers Comp. Case and a Third Party Liability Claim

Workers compensation is no-fault, meaning that you can recover even if you yourself were negligent. For example, if you as an officer walk out into the middle of traffic, without a reflective vest or Streamlight with luminaire, and are struck by a car, you can still file for and received workers comp. benefits. Even though there is an argument that you are partially at fault, that will not affect your workers comp. case. It will, however, affect your third party liability case.

A third party liability action in Virginia is determined by negligence. Further, Virginia is a state that practices that law of contributory negligence (like MD and DC), meaning that you (the claimant) cannot be in any way at-fault for your injuries. Liability and fault have to lie completely with the other driver.  If, for example, you have initiated a traffic stop, and your vehicle is off on the side of the road, as is the stopped car. If you are rear-ended by a careless driver, while your vehicle is stopped, then you may have a claim against that driver!

Some examples of when you as a police officer may have a third party liability claim:

  • Being rear-ended in traffic

  • Being struck by a motorist while directing traffic

  • When your squad car is struck while on a traffic stop, with all emergency equipment active

  • A negligent motorist strikes you when you are on a motorcycle or bicycle

Because a third party liability claim rises or falls on the issue of negligence, it is extremely important for you to contact an experienced Virginia Car Accident lawyer immediately. The longer we wait, the harder it is for us to develop evidence. Just as with any criminal investigation, memories fade and camera footage is overwritten.  While your dash cam and BWC will almost always be preserved by the department, not all agencies think to pull the footage from business and homes that may have captured the crash. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that your workers' comp. claim is administrative. The car accident/third-party claim is fiercely adversarial, and the car insurance companies are going to anything and everything they can to minimize and fight your claim.

Have you been injured in a car accident at work?

Contact Blaszkow Legal today!

Your Claim for Car Accident Damages

In a third party liability action, you have a claim for your damages, which are all of the ways that the incident has impacted you. This claim is more broad than that asserted in a workers' compensation claim. Your third-party claim includes such elements as:

  • Medical expenses

  • Future medical expenses

  • Time lost from work

  • Loss of earning capacity

  • Permanent injury

  • Pain and suffering

  • Scarring

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • and more

The Workers Comp Lien in a Virginia Personal Injury Claim

In any third-party liability claim, the workers compensation insurance carrier is going to have a reimbursement interest in your case. This is known as a workers' comp. lien. The comp carrier gets to get paid back whatever it paid out in that case. If you only have a workers' comp case, then this doesn't apply - the lien only extends to successful third-party claims. If, for some reason, the third-party claim fails or is closed, then you the officer do not have to repay the carrier (Virginia Code 65.2-309).

Example: It means that if the workers' comp case settled for $20,000, the comp carrier makes a reimbursement claim of $20,000. However, their lien is reduced by a pro rata share of the attorney's fees as well as expenses, meaning that this lien for $20,000 is now under $14,000.

This lien is nothing to fear, but it does impact the decision whether or not to pursue a third-party liability case. Not every line of duty injury results in an actionable third-party claim. That, however, is a legal strategy question. You should ALWAYS speak to a Virginia car accident lawyer first.

Speak to a Car Accident Attorney Today if You Have Been Hurt in the Line of Duty

Blaszkow Legal is here to help, and to serve those who have served, and continue to serve. A line of duty injury is a risk taken by all first responders - and while most injuries are facets of the work, there are those instances where an officer can hold the negligent driver accountable for his or her actions. If you have been hurt by a negligent, reckless, or careless motorist, call Blaszkow Legal today for a free consultation!

Call now and we will 1) assist you in finding a good workers' compensation attorney, and 2) begin investigating your third-party liability case!

Alexandria/Northern Virginia Office:
5270 Shawnee Road #102, Alexandria, Va. 22312

Richmond Office:
7824 Shrader Road, Richmond, Va. 23294

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Don't wait! It is vital that your interests be protected and preserved - you deserve aggressive, experienced attorneys fighting for you.

Let us help you hold the negligent drivers accountable. Call Blaszkow Legal today: 703-879-5910