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Damaged Knee


Officer Jeremy Lewis ¹was forty four years young when he was involved in a police chase of Robert Laden, who operated his vehicle as fast as eighty miles per hour. Laden, an 18 year old, had refused to stop for motor vehicle violations and was then pursued by multiple cruisers from town to town. Laden’s vehicle finally spun out and stalled as he took a turn onto Main Street in a neighboring town. At the same time, Officer Lewis arrived at the scene on the opposite side of the street where he observed Laden still in his vehicle. Officer Lewis could not drive across the street to box in Laden because of a concrete median which divided Main Street. Officer Lewis stopped his cruiser on the opposite side and quickly exited his vehicle. He started running toward Laden’s vehicle to prevent Laden from getting his vehicle started and continuing his evasion of the pursuing officers. Officer Lewis ran across the median separating the two directions of travel on Main Street toward Laden’s vehicle. In his haste, Officer Lewis came off the median and landed on his right foot in an awkward position, causing his right knee to twist. He felt a pop in his knee and continued the rest of the way limping to the driver’s door. Once at the door, Officer Lewis was able to reach in and pull Laden out of the vehicle before he could restart it. At this point Officer Lewis could hardly move and another officer had to handcuff Laden.

Officer Lewis was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he was treated and released. He could not return to work and was put on Chapter 41, injured on duty status by the Town. Within two months he underwent surgery to repair the torn ACL ligament and medial meniscus in his knee. Two screws were inserted into the knee during the surgery and remain there today. The surgery left a three to four inch permanent vertical scar down the kneecap and three small scars from the arthroscopic procedure. Following surgery he went through months of painful rehabilitation exercises and physical therapy.

Officer Lewis struggled through his conditioning program to quickly return to work. He was able to return to light duty just three months following the incident. He continued on light duty another six months when he resumed full activities. Although he was paid injury on duty pay for the three months he was out of work, he was losing an average of $300.00 per week in overtime and detail pay. This weekly loss continued during the six months he was on light duty status. Presently, Officer Lewis is back working full time but he continues to experience daily pain, discomfort and weakness in his knee. Activities such as walking on hard surfaces, standing for prolonged periods, kneeling and climbing stairs aggravate his condition. According to his doctor this condition is permanent.

Officer Jeremy Lewis had a choice to make. In addition to receiving Chapter 41 injury on duty benefits, he could choose not to be further compensated. Alternatively, he could assert his legal right, as provided in Chapter 41, to pursue a claim against Defendant Laden. The same statute, Chapter 41, which provides for injured on duty status, also authorized Officer Lewis to pursue Laden for compensation of his damages. These damages included the injury, the surgery, the scarring, the past pain and suffering, the lost overtime and detail pay and the future pain he will endure, which his doctor opined is permanent. Officer Lewis chose to pursue his legal right to make a claim against Defendant Laden and called me for a free consultation.

After the filing of a lawsuit and depositions of Officer Lewis and the Defendant Laden, Officer Lewis settled his case for $150,000. This properly compensated him for having to miss three months of work, having to undergo surgery on his knee, missing out on over $11,000 in overtime and detail pay and having to work and walk on a painful knee the rest of his life.

Officer Lewis’ case had some interesting twists. As expected Laden’s attorneys argued there was no contact between the Defendant Laden’s vehicle and Lewis, so Laden could not be held liable for Officer Lewis’ misstep off the median. The case was further complicated since this was not the typical automobile accident, upon which to make a claim on Laden’s automobile insurance.

Don’t Miss Out, Assert Your Statutory Right To Compensation

All injury claims made by injured officers are valuable. At a minimum there is a valuable claim to be made for the pain and suffering that may last weeks, months and at times years. As in the Lewis case, valuable compensation may be available for scarring, lost overtime and detail pay when the officer has to leave work for some period of time, or pass up overtime and details until the injury improves.
For many officers who return quickly to work it takes months and sometimes years for the pain to completely resolve. Injured backs, necks and knees are often aggravated by long hours of sitting in the cruiser or standing on details. This work prolongs the time it takes to fully recover. Many officers never fully recover from their injuries.

An injured officer should always consider seeking a free consultation to determine the benefits and probability of success on making a claim. I am always available by telephone, email or a personal meeting. Once I evaluate the case and the officer’s chances of success, the decision whether to go forward then rests with the officer. The decision when to return to work rests, as it should, with the officer and his doctor.

As with all claims for an officer's injuries-on-duty, there are no guarantees. Many police injury cases involve sophisticated legal issues, problems of proof, technical insurance policy coverage disputes and issues that arise under Massachusetts General Laws c. 41, §100 and §111F and or related statutes.

When we work on these cases, we work on a contingent fee basis. That means the injured officer pays nothing up front and he only need pay for legal services if we successfully collect money on the claim. We typically will receive one-third of the money collected. If we were to fail to collect money for the injured officer, the officer will owe nothing for our legal services, except in some cases, for out-of-pocket expenses.

¹ The officer’s name has been changed to protect his privacy. He has consented to having the facts of his case written about to help educate other officers about their rights. The name of the Defendant has also been changed. The similarity between the officer’s and or the defendant’s names with real persons living or deceased is merely coincidental and not intended.


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