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Right To Bring A Tort Action As A Police Officer or Firefighter

Emergency professionals are usually barred from bringing tort actions when injured by the defendant whose negligence caused the emergency. As such, police officers or firefighters who are injured during the performance of their duty from bringing negligence claims are generally barred from bringing tort claims. This is rationalized by the fact that courts do not want to deter citizens from requesting assistance from firefighters or police officers due to the fear of being held liable for the possible resulting injuries.

However, Missouri has not expanded the firefighter's rule so far that citizens the liberty to recklessly disregard the safety and well-being of the officer. Lambert v. Schaefer, 839 S.W.2d 27, 29 (Mo. App. 1992). Missouri Courts have outlined certain exceptions to the firefighter’s rule when there are: “(1) acts involving reckless or wanton negligence, or willful conduct; (2) separate and independent acts; or (3) intentional torts.” Hockensmith v. Brown, 929 S.W.2d 840, 847 (Mo. Ct. App. 1996). Thus, if an emergency professional is injured due to one of these aforementioned exceptions the professional is not barred from bringing a tort action and may recover for their damages.

So if you are a police officer or firefighter that has been injured during the course of your duties, please call the attorneys at Meyerkord & Kurth to help represent you.

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