State Trooper Injured by Taser Will Take Case to Trial

taserA Washington state trooper who was being trained on tasers was injured and will now be allowed to bring his case to trial according to a state appeals court ruling.

According to the article Trooper Michael Michelbrink Jr. was participating in a state mandatory taser training session where the instructor would user the taser on all the trainees for one to five seconds.

The purpose of a taser is to incapacitate a suspect or whoever is being tased.  As is it supposed to do Michelbrink was subdued by the taser, but as a result also suffered a bulging disc and a fractured vertebra in his back.  He was at home recovering for six months before he attempted to return to his job.

Michelbrink was given a “Category 2 permanent thoracic spine impairment” diagnosis by the Department of Labor and Industries.  A few months later Michelbrink attempted to sue the state police for deliberately injuring him.

The most common things that happen from exposure to tasers are temporary pain, blisters, redness, and possibly some bleeding if a probe breaks the skin.  Troopers are also trained how to remove a probe from the skin if one becomes stuck.

Because of the fact the the state police knew the harm could come to Michelbrink he is presenting the issue of whether his employer meant to cause him certain injury, and the courts find that this does not have to be a major injury as Michelbrink sustained.

Despite knowing that injury can occur no matter how minor it may be, the state troopers still were exposed to being tased as a requirement of training for those who use a taser on the job.

This is a rather touchy case and I will be curious to see the outcome of the case.  I know many police and military personnel and all of them have been exposed to being tased if they carry one as part of their job.  Obviously they expect some discomfort as that is the point of a taser, I seriously doubt that any employer looks to inflict permanent injury on one of their employees.  They want them to be safe and prepared should they need to use the weapon or have it turned on them.  It is a shame that this trooper experienced such an injury probably due to the way he went down when being tased, and I clearly see how it falls under the topic of workers compensation.  Its a shame that it has be such a long drawn out process for this guy.  He was injured in the course of his job he should collect comp and I am sure that they can find some light duty work for him to return to.


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