Police Officer Sues After Ankle Injury From Fall During Arrest

A police officer in Maine suffered a broken ankle while attempting to arrest a person at an off-campus student housing complex near The University of Maine. police

Now, he is taking action against the property owners, who own a site where a party of 300 to 400 students happened on the first Saturday of the 2014-2015 school year. In Angelo v. Campus Crest at Orono LLC, plaintiff alleges the property owners were negligent for failure to have adequate police presence or private security to make sure such a large gathering wouldn’t happen in the first place, or at least that large groups of people weren’t drinking alcohol outside the apartments.

The lawsuit mentioned a similar party took place at the same complex shortly after it first opened back in 2012. It houses a total of 620 students.

According to news reports of the incident, police from numerous outside jurisdictions had to be called in to help disperse the crowd at the site. Most of those in attendance were students.

When plaintiff arrived on scene, he discovered the crowd was allegedly unruly, uncooperative, young and mostly intoxicated. When officers first made their attempts to disperse the crowd, most were not compliant. Officers reportedly gave numerous warnings. Finally, a supervisor gave a final dispersal warning, indicating arrests would be the next step if the crowd did not move on. Several minutes after that warning, officers began arresting those who still refused to leave the property.

Plaintiff initiated an arrest on one of those individuals, and a struggle ensContact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.ed. Another officer stepped in to help. Plaintiff lost his balance. As a result, he fell and severely injured his ankle.

He was later diagnosed with a displaced fracture, and had to undergo surgery less than a month later.

In total, his medical bills reached almost $20,000. Additionally, he lost $15,000 in lost wages after he was forced to remain off work for nine weeks, and even when he came back, he was on light duty for three months after.

Although the news reports do not indicate whether the officer received workers’ compensation benefits, it’s a good bet that he did. The case has every indication that the injury occurred in the course and scope of officer’s employment.

But the fact that someone collects workers’ compensation doesn’t mean they are blocked from taking legal action against a third party.

Workers’ compensation does provide injured employees coverage of medical bills and a portion of lost wages. But it doesn’t cover everything. That can be recovered in a third-party injury lawsuit.

And even though some of plaintiff’s expenses may have been covered by workers’ compensation, the collateral source rule won’t allow defendant to benefit from that. In other words, just because workers’ compensation had to pay medical bills doesn’t mean a defendant wouldn’t have to pay those. Instead, it would be the insurer who would be reimbursed. And where workers’ compensation paid a portion of lost wages, defendant could be liable to reimburse the entire amount of lost wages, with a portion of that going back to workers’ compensation insurer and the rest paid to plaintiff.

Also, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover losses like pain and suffering or loss of consortium. But as our personal injury lawyers know, such losses are compensable in civil litigation against a third party.

Property owners have a duty to ensure their property is safe for lawful guests. That means having adequate security. Although there is typically no hard-and-fast rule for what is adequate, evidence of previous gatherings of this scale will work in plaintiff’s favor here because it will establish that the formation and risk of such a large crowd was foreseeable.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Angelo v. Campus Crest at Orono LLC, Nov. 17, 2015, Maine District Court

More Blog Entries:

School Shooting at Winston-Salem University – One Dead, One Injured, Nov. 11, 2015, Asheville Injury Attorney Blog

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