Randall Jones spends the day drinking and gambling at the casino. Just after midnight, Mr. Jones starts his drive home on a local highway. Without warning, Mr. Jones suddenly attempts a left-hand turn directly across the path of a vehicle travelling toward him from the opposite direction with a green light. Mr. Jones crashes into the oncoming vehicle. That vehicle happened to be a police cruiser responding to an emergency.
Additional police respond. They test Mr. Jones’ Blood Alcohol Content. Mr. Jones’ BAC is over twice the legal limit. Mr. Jones is arrested on charges for Operating Under The Influence of alcohol as well as OUI of drugs. Apparently, Mr. Jones had also been taking prescription medication, which carried a warning for drowsiness side effects.
The officer driving the cruiser sustained injuries to his back and right arm. Following the crash, the officer was unable to work for two months and had nearly three months of physical therapy. The officer’s greatest concern was this crash may have affected his back where he previously had surgery. Fortunately, the collision did not affect the officer’s prior back surgery. Even if that were the case, though, the officer would have been entitled to fair compensation for any exacerbation of that pre-existing condition. While many people worry that hurting the same body part previously injured may not be compensable, the law is clear – you are entitled to compensation for however a prior injury is made worse.
By forcefully arguing the extreme danger the drunk driver posed to the community, I was able to obtain a $47,000 settlement for the officer from Mr. Jones’ insurance company. The settlement amount was significant enough to repay all the officer’s lost wages, including missed overtime and details, plus more.
In order to protect the privacy of the injured officer and witnesses, all names have been changed. 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 public safety officers around the Commonwealth be better educated about their legal rights to compensation when injured.