Mississippi Court: Workers’ Comp Benefits Owed to Officer Injured While Speeding

July 24, 2017

Mississippi’s Court of Appeals says the city of Jackson can’t deny workers’ compensation benefits to a police officer injured in a wreck while he was speeding.

The court ruled 10-0 that the city must pay former officer Kearney Brown for injuries suffered in 2012 when Brown crashed his patrol car. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the car and injured.

The city argued that Brown’s excessive speed, as high as 90 mph, meant he intended to injure himself, one reason an employer can refuse to pay for injuries. Brown testified he was driving fast to reach an officer who had called for assistance.

The court ruling says Brown resigned from the police department in 2013 after an internal affairs investigator warned him months later that he would be fired for negligence if he didn’t. The city refused to pay Brown’s medical bills after he resigned.

The court rejected the city’s argument that Brown’s intent to injure himself could be inferred from reckless conduct. It also rejected the city’s claim that it would be bad public policy to award benefits to Brown because his speeding was a threat to bystanders.

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