Belleville, IL – An appellate court ruled that a Shiloh officer was entitled to line-of-duty disability benefits after the city tried to claim that getting rear ended in a patrol car didn’t qualify him for benefits.
The Nov. 29 ruling upheld a lower court’s decision, and ended a five-year benefits battle for a disabled officer, to whom the Board of Trustees of the police pension fund had denied full benefits.
In May of 2012, Shiloh Police Department Officer David Martin was on duty, sitting in an unmarked police car at a traffic light, when he was rear-ended by another vehicle.
At the time he was hit, Officer Martin was returning from a courthouse where he’d gotten copies of subpoenas for an investigation, and filed traffic tickets and other citations.
He suffered cervical spine injuries in his back and neck and ended up with permanent disabilities that prevented him from returning to work in the field, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
The Village of Shiloh said Officer Martin wasn’t entitled to full on-duty pension benefits, equivalent to 65 percent of an officer’s salary, because he was stopped at a traffic light at the time of the accident, something non-officers do multiple times a day.
The disagreement wasn’t over whether Officer Martin was disabled, but rather, whether his injury qualified as having taken place “on duty.”
Illinois code described an act of duty as one “inherently involving special risk, not ordinarily assumed by a citizen in the ordinary walks of life.”
Initially, the St. Clair County Circuit Court ruled in favor of Officer Martin’s full disability claim, but the Village of Shiloh appealed.
After reviewing previous case decisions, the appeals court upheld the lower court’s decision, and said an officer can be awarded line-of-duty disability benefits when an officer is disabled “as the result of the injury incurred in the performance of an act of duty.”