SW Legal studies in Business

Police Officers Never Off Duty for Purposes of Workers' Compensation
Description Appeals court held that because police officers are expected to provide assistance at any time, they are never off duty for purposes of injuries they may sustain in such instances, and so are eligible for workers' compensation whether on duty or off duty.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Workers' Compensation; Police; Off Duty
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Spieler was a police officer for the Village of Bel-Nor. When driving while off duty, he came across a car accident. He checked on the accident and found some injured parties. While calling for help on a cell phone, he was struck by a passing car and severely injured. He filed for workers' compensation benefits, but they were denied because he was off duty. The Labor and Industrial Commission reversed that decision and awarded Spieler permanent disability benefits. Bel-Nor appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. Spieler's injury arose out of and in the course of his employment as a Bel-Nor police officer, thus he was entitled to benefits. Although he was off duty and not in the village limits at the time of the injury, the handbook for Bel-Nor police officers could have lead an officer to think that he would be expected to stop at the scene of an accident and provide assistance. In a sense, a police officer is never off duty for purposes of workers' compensation claims.

Citation Spieler v. Village of Bel-Nor, 62 S.W.3d 457 (Ct. App., Mo., 2002)

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