New York firefighters battle dangerous conditions as part of their duty to protect the citizenry. Although risk of injury and death is part of their job, it does not mean that firefighters have no rights when it comes to their safety and well-being.

Unfortunately, many New York firefighters are injured and even killed because property owners and/or property managers disregarded applicable laws and created unsafe conditions. If this happens to you, then you can sue the parties whose negligence or carelessness caused your on-duty injuries.

In New York City, firefighters are ineligible for workers’ compensation, so when they are injured due to someone else’s negligence, they have two options: a common law cause of action under General Municipal Law § 205a and a statutory cause of action under General Obligations Law §11-106.

General Municipal Law § 205a

Also known as New York’s “Firefighter Law,” 205a covers firefighters who are injured in the line of duty because another party broke the law. It was enacted to protect firefighters who were hurt due to lax building code standards, flagrant traffic law violations, or someone else’s failure to observe all applicable regulations. Personal injury lawsuits brought about under § 205a often cite violations of laws like the following:

  • The NYC Administrative Code
  • Electrical codes
  • NY State Multiple Dwelling Law
  • OSHA

To sue for damages under 205a, you must identify the statute or statutes whose violation(s) caused you to be injured, describe your resulting injuries, and present facts that can reasonably attribute the event to someone else’s negligence. Examples could include:

  • Malfunctioning sprinklers
  • Lack of self-closing doors in buildings that require them
  • Broken or poorly maintained fire escapes

If you win your case, then 205a requires the defendant to pay you a minimum of $10,000 or, if you were killed, a minimum of $40,000 to your heirs.

General Obligations Law §11-106

Under this law, an injured firefighter may sue any person or entity whose negligence caused them to be injured. Unlike General Municipal Law § 205a, you are not required to demonstrate that the party allegedly responsible did not violate any established law or ordinance. However, lawsuits cannot generally be brought against municipal employees or other firefighters under § 11-106.

If you or someone you love were injured while performing professional firefighter duties, then contact a personal injury attorney, as you may be able to sue for damages. Your attorney will fight to ensure that you are compensated for medical costs, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and other damages required to get your injuries properly treated, maintain your quality of life, and remain stable financially as you recover. Contact the law office of Jayson Lutzky, P.C. for a free in-person consultation if you or a loved one were injured as a firefighter. Call 718-514-6619 or visit to learn more.