Elaina Bayless parks at local beach, gets high, and passes out. Conducting a wellness check, Police Sergeant George Farrey sees Ms. Bayless’ unconscious body slumped over in the driver’s seat. Sergeant Farrey bangs on the window, waking up Ms. Bayless. Sergeant Farrey opens the door and notices a hypodermic needle on the console. Ms. Bayless abruptly puts the vehicle in reverse and accelerates, striking Sergeant Farrey from behind with the open driver’s door and the side of the vehicle. The door knocks Sergeant Farrey’ legs out from under him, causing him to fall to the ground. Ms. Bayless flees the scene and leads police on a 100-plus mile per hour chase, which ended with a crash and her eventual capture.
As for Sergeant Farrey, he landed on his left elbow, which jolted his shoulder upwards. Despite ongoing pain, Sergeant Farrey returned to work three weeks later. He was quickly taken back out by his orthopedic specialist after MRI and X-rays revealed tearing to his rotator cuff and labrum as well as a fracture to his left scapula. In all, Sergeant Farrey was unable to work for over eight months. The amount of money he lost in not being able to work details and overtime alone exceeded the $20,000 policy limit Ms. Bayless carried under her automobile insurance for Part 5 Optional Bodily Injury to Others. Fortunately, Sergeant Farrey’s personal automobile insurance policy provided up to $100,000 of coverage for situations where a defendant does not have enough insurance to cover the entire value of his damages. Therefore, after securing a settlement from Ms. Bayless’ insurer for her $20,000 policy limit, we demanded settlement from Sergeant Farrey’s insurer under Part 12 Bodily Injury Caused by an Underinsured Auto. Since Sergeant Farrey’s insurer is entitled to reduce his Part 12 coverage by the amount already recovered from the negligent third party, Ms. Bayless, there was an additional $80,000 of coverage available. Sergeant Farrey’s insurer agreed to settle the Underinsured claim for $80,000, bringing the total recovery to $100,000.
While we are proud of the work we did for Officer Farrey, it is important to note that we may have been able to recover additional money had he purchased higher limits on his automobile insurance coverages. We advise that our clients carry at least $100,000 of coverage per person under Part 12 (and Part 3 Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto); however, we strongly recommend increasing coverages under Parts 3 and 12 to $250,000 per person. Depending on your current coverage under Part 5 Optional Bodily Injury to Others, increasing Parts 3 and 12 often costs about the same as buying lunch or dinner. Click here to learn more.
The names of the those involved in this matter have been changed for privacy reasons. Any resemblance to names of real persons, past or present, is merely coincidental and not intended. The injured officer agreed to have this article published in order that police officers around the Commonwealth be better educated about their legal rights to compensation when injured-on-duty.
– Jared Ballin, Esq.