Attorney Mark Peacock, founder of Peacock Law, a.p.c., has one of the most unique law practices in the nation, it represents public safety officers and their families in personal injury lawsuits. Police, sheriff deputies, correctional officers, firefighters, EMTs, parole agents and related fields turn to Mark for his ability to understand the complex nature of personal injury cases involving public safety professionals.
Mark sat down with us for a brief Q and A where we discussed his practice, what it is like to represent public safety officers and the current state of the law in California.
Q – If an officer or firefighter is injured on the job, what should he or she do first?
A – Obviously, the first thing is to seek medical care and make sure you are okay. When it comes to handling any legal claims, be sure to contact your union representative and contact a qualified attorney who can handle all three areas of the law that will impact you. You need an attorney who handles workers compensation, an attorney who can handle any labor claims as well as a lawyer who can handle the personal injury aspect of your claim.
Q – Is personal injury the same as worker’s compensation?
A – No, they are actually very different and handled under different sets of laws, legal statutes, and union contracts. If you do not have attorneys who understand this, you could be losing out on a significant amount of compensation. Peacock Law, a.p.c. handles only the personal injury aspect of your claim. We work closely with workers compensation attorneys to make sure every public safety officer is properly represented. However, personal injury claims are handled in a completely different way than worker’s compensation.
Q – Why is it different for a police officer, sheriff deputy or fire fighter to get hurt at work than other people?
A – Again, there are the unique issues with regards to the types of injuries a public safety officer experiences. A janitor does not carry a gun to work and a secretary does not run into a burning building. When a public safety officer is injured on the job, he or she will potentially have to file claims involving their department, worker’s compensation, and personal injury. The process is actually quite complex and requires the right kind of lawyer(s).
Q – Do these types of cases go to trial? How long do they take to resolve?
A – While Peacock Law, a.p.c. is always ready to take a case to trial if that’s what will get the best results, 99 times out of 100 these cases are settled confidentially.
Q – Does it matter what part of California a public safety officer gets hurt in?
A – Generally no because more often than not, your attorneys will be dealing with state laws alone. What also matters is how your injury impacts your ability to perform your job and how your employer (typically a City, County, or the State) treats you while you are injured. This is where it can get messy (light duty, no overtime, forced retirement etc.)
Q – What is the biggest mistake you have seen when an EMT, parole officer or other public safety officer gets hurt in the line of duty?
A – First, the biggest mistake is them not realizing that they have a personal injury case in addition to a worker’s compensation case. Secondly, not going to a qualified team of attorneys to handle every aspect of a claim. Many worker’s compensation attorneys can help with a worker’s compensation claim, but few understand the importance of handling the separate personal injury case properly and that’s where Peacock Law, a.p.c. comes in. If you are injured on the job, you need the right team of attorneys that can get you maximum compensation.
Q – Do you work closely with police and firefighter unions to help train their people on what to do if they have been injured?
A – Absolutely, our firm works with unions throughout California to help train leaders and members in the best ways to handle injuries, claims, new laws and more. We are grateful to our law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, parole agents and other public safety officers for all the work they do for our communities. Helping with training programs is one of the ways we are able to give back to those who give so much to us. We have trained and worked with safety personnel all over the state: Bay area, San Jose/Alameda, Sacramento, Los Angeles/Orange, San Diego, Anaheim, Santa Ana, etcetera etcetera. Really all four corners of the State.
Q – What message do you have for officers in California?
A – It is never an easy time to be a public safety officer, but it seems now is a particularly difficult time. Know your rights, know your options, and find qualified attorneys with a long, successful track record of success who can help you if you are injured on the job. Remember, should you get seriously hurt your career in law enforcement, EMT, or firefighting could be at an end, so it is important to make sure you maximize every financial option you have available to you should that happen.
Thanks so much Mark, we look forward to speaking with you again.
A – Anytime.