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Workers' Compensation

New Mexico: Off-Duty Police Officer’s Drowning During Rescue Effort Found Work-Related

A police officer, outside his jurisdiction, and on a personal day trip near the Rio Grande, who drowned while undertaking the rescue of a drowning child, sustained fatal injuries arising out of and in the course of his employment, held a New Mexico appellate court recently.  Citing Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the court stressed that given the unique expectation placed upon police officers to officially act while off-duty in some circumstances, any emergency action that an on-duty police officer would take in the course of his or her employment that was taken by an off-duty police officer could be considered reasonably incidental to the off-duty officer’s employment responsibilities.  Since rendering assistance to a child in danger of drowning was among those risks faced by an on-duty officer, it was reasonable to conclude that the deceased police officer, though off-duty, died in the course and scope of his employment, in spite of his off-duty status at the time.

Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to

See Schultz v. Pojoaque Tribal Police Dep’t, 2013 N.M. App. LEXIS 77 (Aug. 19, 2013) [2013 N.M. App. LEXIS 77 (Aug. 19, 2013)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 28.01 [28.01]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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