FEB 10 2009

Subrogation related to Police Injuries as a result of Calls

Miscellaneous

I would be very careful about such expense recovery related to public safety officer injuries. Indeed, as a matter of standard policy, I’d recommend seeking restitution only from those convicted of crimes, arsonists, etc. (current Firefighters’ Rules typically allow this, e.g., California Civil Code Section 1714.9 ).

An unintended consequence of such expense recovery is the deterrence of future 911 calls, thus eroding the governmental function of protecting the public. As a matter of public policy, to avoid deterring the public from calling for help, such a policy should be strictly delimited in scope. It encourages an “us versus them” mentality (as an aside, this is another reason to seek waivers of subrogation from insurers; the decision to go after alleged tortfeasors should be the governmental insureds, not the insurers).

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