Same Injury – Different Results

The same injury from an automobile or cruiser accident does not always end with the same result, and the only difference between the results is the amount of insurance available to the officer.  This is a situation over which you have some control.

Take the cases of two police officers injured by a automobile while working a detail.  In both instances, the officers received an injury to the shoulder that required surgery, physical therapy, and about three months out of work.  Both officers received their regular pay under c.42, sec 111F,  but lost considerable income from being unable to work overtime and details.

In the first case, the vehicle that struck the officer had the minimum policy of $20,000.  The case settled quickly for the $20,000.  The statutory lien for the sec. 111F paid to the officer and the sec. 100 medical bills paid to the medical providers by the municipality were far in excess of the $20,000 available.  After some wrangling with town counsel, I managed to secure about $6,700 for the officer.  Although this was a small victory, the amount did not nearly compensate this officer for all that he endured and the pay he lost.

In the second case, the vehicle that struck the officer also had a $20,000 policy, but the officer’s recovery was far greater.  The difference was that the  officer had Underinsured Coverage on his personal automobile of $100,000.  The municipality’s recovery was capped at the $20,000, as the statutory lien does not apply to underinsured benefits.  The officer received a far higher result because he protected himself and his family by purchasing underinsured coverage.

One of the most likely injuries for police officers is injuries from automobile accidents.  Whether hit as a pedestrian while working a detail or at a scene, or struck while driving a cruiser, the financial injury can be as serious as the physical injury.  Thus, you should consult your agent (or contact me) and determine whether you have high enough limits for both Underinsured coverage and Uninsured coverage.  You should have at least 100,000/300,000 limits in this coverage, but I would suggest 250,000/500,000 limits.  This will help you when your injured by someone who has too little insurance, or no insurance because the vehicle either flees the scene or is stolen.

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