Firefighting, Legal

New Jersey Court Rules Firefighter Entitled to Accidental Disability Pension

An appeals court said a firefighter who was injured when his “heroic” action saved the lives of two people is entitled to an accidental disability pension, not the lower pension he was awarded by a retirement board, reports northjersey.com.

In January of 2010, James Moran, then a Jersey City firefighter, responded to reports of an early morning fire at a home that was believed to be vacant. As one of the first firefighters on scene, Moran used his body to force his way through the door. The quick action helped save the lives of two people, but caused Moran a disabling injury, the decision said.

The Board of Trustees of the Police and Fireman’s Retirement System denied Moran’s petition for an accidental disability pension, and instead awarded him an ordinary pension, which was substantially lower amount. The board said Moran’s case didn’t meet the law’s standard that the injury had to have occurred in an “unexpected and undesigned” way. Moran’s injury, “while unfortunate, was caused by ordinary and intended, if dire, work effort,” the board ruled.

The appeals court disagreed, saying that Moran acted admirably after finding himself in an unexpected position.

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