The Good Samaritan Claim

I was injured during a fight involving multiple people. A policeman was getting beaten, so I stepped in to help him to prevent him from getting seriously injured. Can I make a claim for my injuries?

You not only have an assault claim against the people who hurt you, you may be also able to sue the City of New York for your damages as well. After filing a notice of claim (and possibly attending a municipal hearing and physical exam), you can file a lawsuit as a plaintiff in Supreme Court in New York for the damages you sustained. General Municipal Law § 71-a imposes absolute liability on the City for your injuries while aiding a police officer at the officer’s direction in making an arrest. For this type of claim there are two requirements: (1) the police office must lawfully command the injured plaintiff in securing the arrest and (2) the plaintiff’s injuries arose out of assisting the police officer.

From the description that you gave, it does not seem likely that you were given an explicit command from the police officer that was getting “beaten.” But, as long as the place officer indicated in some way that he needed assistance, then the City would be responsible for your damages.

Furthermore, “absolute liability” means the City would have no defense for this type of claim. The City would have to pay your damages. The only defense the City could mount would be to argue that the police officer never gave you a command to assist in the arrest of the person beating the police officer.

As a secondary point, there is no type of insurance that would cover the bad actors who inflicted your injuries. If you sue the people who assaulted you, you would have to collect any judgment against those people individually. You may not be able to collect any money.