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NJ PBA Legal Protection Plan

One of the greatest benefits to a union member is the Legal Protection Plan.  If your union does not have one, you as an individual can enroll in the plan, even if your union does not.  Just have your union delegate sign the enrollment form and mail it in with your yearly dues.  This is highly recommended as you will almost certainly be sued through the course of your career and/or be the target of an internal investigation.

Although your Department will pay for coverage in a false arrest or use of force case, you can be assured that you will not be covered under their policy for the defense of disciplinary charges.  With attorneys fees ranging between $200 - $400 an hour, one would be foolish not to purchase a plan which runs between $125 and $175 per year, or $10 - $15 a month.  An average attorney fee for the defense of a minor (under 5 days) discipline/administrative charge will start around $2000.  It is not unusual for an attorney to request a $5000 retainer fee.  Over a 30 year career, the plan will cost  approximately $5250.

Although many officers purchase the plan, few are familiar with how to use it.  They frequently ask "am I covered?" and "which attorney can I use?".  This article will feature the benefits of the NJ PBA Legal Protection Plan which EdPDLaw rates as the best. 

The major misconception with the plan is the officer's belief that he must use his union attorney or retain an attorney on his own.  This is entirely false.  Members of the Legal Protection Plan can use any of the 120+ Law Firms that are enrolled in the plan (network) and any of the 3,000 attorneys in those law firms.  There is no retainer fee and the attorneys bill is covered up to your policy limit of $20,000 or $40,000 per occurrence.  There is no deductible.   Expert fees are also covered.

Many times the union attorney may not be comfortable representing the individual officer as it may present a conflict of interest between the unions' goal as an entity and the officer's individual best interest.   This leaves the officer feeling alienated and abandoned by his union.  Union Presidents are encouraged to tell their officers that they have the ability to chose any attorney in the network and have the costs covered by the plan.  This is similar to using a PPO health plan.

Currently, for $132 dollars a year, PBA members have the option of using any one of the 3,000 attorneys in the network.  If, for any reason, you are not happy with the attorney you choose, pick another, change firms midstream.  $132 a year for peace of mind. 

You are covered up to:

    $20,000 for administrative charges BOTH ON & OFF- DUTY

    $40,000 for criminal and/or civil actions in the Line-of-Duty

Why would you need additional coverage for criminal/civil actions in the line-of-duty?  Because their may be instances when your Agency/Department will not cover you.  Don't forget to back up your plan with the EdPDLaw Plan which manages the contents of your personnel file and affords your union the database statistics it needs to assure your discipline is "fair" and not excessive.

The Legal Protection Plan is a self-funded plan that can be started in any state.  If your union is interested in starting a plan please contact EdPDLaw.

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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