Professional liability success and horror stories

FEDS, the Federal Employee Defense Service, which provides professional liability insurance to wildland firefighters and other federal employees, has updated their web site. It now includes “testimonials” from people who have found themselves in a position where they needed legal representation because of an incident that occurred during the course of their duties. The testimonials include some from federal wildland firefighters:

  • Michael J. Dietrich, Type 1 Incident Commander and Forest Fire Management Officer, USFS, retired
  • Pete Soderquist, District Fire Management Officer, USFS, retired
  • G. Elton Thomas, Forest Fire Management Officer, USFS, retired
  • Rick Hafenfeld, Regional Aviation Officer, USFS, retired

It is stunning to read these stories.

Whether you are proven innocent or guilty, the cost of defending yourself can bankrupt you and your family. And going to jail for a mistake made on the fire line can ruin your life. The annual premium of $270, part of which may be reimbursed by your employer, covers legal fees up to $200,000 in an administrative investigation or disciplinary action, up to $100,000 for a criminal legal defense, and up to $1,000,000 for liability damages in a civil suit. Higher limits are available for an additional fee.

And, in case you are wondering, we have no association with FEDS, other than having met their President, Anthony Vergnetti, at a workshop in Reno a few years ago . There may be other companies that provide similar services, but FEDS has a proven record in the wildfire community.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Professional liability success and horror stories”

  1. This type of coverage is a VERY good thing to have. For less then a dollar a day or less if your agency puts in it’s 50% you will get some very good coverage. Several companies offer this coverage so do your homework. If an investigator starts to ask questions simply say, “I need to contact my legal firm”. For AD’s it is a must and you can write it off on taxes. In my former agency, experience showed me the agency, management, suprevisors and co-workers were your friends till someone made a mistake and then they were out blame anyone and everyone they could to save their careers. Years ago a L.E. friend
    killed an armed criminal in the line of duty. His comment was the agency abandon him and tried to fire and press charges againsed him.


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