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Police officer work accident prompted an additional lawsuit

Police officers are covered under compensation laws for work accidents, just like any other employee in Wisconsin. When an officer is badly injured in the line of duty from the negligence of a colleague, that person may feel anger and confusion. A recent police officer work accident prompted an additional lawsuit against a co-worker, who the victim felt was responsible for the situation.

The work accident occurred when a Wisconsin police officer left his vehicle in drive during an arrest. Failure to place the car in park caused it to roll toward his co-worker, squishing him between two cars. The injured officer was badly hurt and was awarded workers' compensation benefits from the department for the accident. The victim then proceeded to pursue legal action against his absent-minded colleague, for contributing cause to the injury.

Wisconsin law retains an exclusive remedy provision that does not prohibit additional lawsuits against a co-worker in a work accident situation. Records indicate that, in court, the co-employee exception, applicable in the remedy provision and due to the city's adoption of a collective bargaining agreement, was highlighted. In the agreement, the city could absorb liability for the lawsuit brought against the co-worker from the victim.

Although Wisconsin law does not reference co-employee actions or responsibilities, it does require employers to compensate workers in situations where employer liability was incurred while on the job. Someone who experiences an injury while at work, and in turn receives workers' compensation benefits, may choose to pursue additional legal action against a negligent co-worker for liability in the accident. This recent police officer work accident prompted an additional lawsuit based on the same principal.

Source:, CBA doesn't provide remedy beyond workers' comp for sergeant, No author, Oct. 21, 2013

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