Getting a Recovery for Injuries to Policeman, Firemen, Santitationmen, and Teachers; Proving the Exception to the Rule

New York City uniform workers and teachers have a right that almost all other employees lack.  They have the right to sue their employer, the City, for an on the job accident.

If you are a City worker and have been injured on the job, please call me at 800-581-1434.

By reason of collective bargaining contracts, the various uniform workers and teachers can sue the City for either negligent conditions or the negligence of co-employees.  This is an exception to the general rule that a worker cannot sue his employer. 

This rule applies only to teachers and the uniform workers, i.e., policemen, firemen, and sanitationmen.  It does not apply to “para-professionals” of the Education Department or clerical employees of the Police Department.  This exception also does not apply to other City workers for other departments, such as the Buildings Department, the Department of Transportation, the Health Department, the New York City Transit Authority, and the New York City Housing Authority.

Firemen, policemen, sanitationmen, and teachers receive unlimited medical benefits and sick leave in lieu of workers’ compensation. 

Here are some examples of common accidents involving these City workers:

  • a teacher trips and falls on defective steps at the school entryway;
  • a sanitation worker is struck by a sanitation truck which is being negligently operated by a co-employee;
  • a police officer, a passenger in a patrol car, gets injured when his “partner” goes through a stop sign in a non-emergency;
  • a fire fighter is injured when he slips on grease in the firehouse;
  • a teacher is injured in an attack by intruders in the school due to negligent school security; and
  • a policeman sustains injuries when tripping on a broken floor in a police garage.

In the foregoing examples the injured city worker can sue the City.  Of course, the injured worker’s ulitmate recovery depends upon whether the worker can prove negligence and causation.

If you are a City employee and have been injured while working, please call me at 800-581-1434 to discuss your case.

Mark E. Seitelman, 1/28/09,


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