After decades of service to his community, Officer Jay made it to retirement and was enjoying life with his family while working details as a special officer to supplement his retirement. All that changed as he stood by the side of the road one night under the bright spotlight of a construction site, wearing his lime green vest, and waving a flashing red cone. The bartender of a local restaurant had spent the evening drinking beers returned by customers and helping himself to the vodka. When pressed later at his deposition, the bartender could not even recall the path his vehicle took as he careened into Officer Jay who suffered what would turn out to be a severe ankle injury as he backpedaled away and ultimately went to the ground.
The bartender only carried $50,000 in auto coverage. Officer Jay had no further underinsured motorist coverage, so the only avenue to a fair recovery was from the restaurant. Our claim against the restaurant was for the negligent supervision of its bartender. However, the restaurant would not be held automatically responsible for its bartender drinking on the job. Officer Jay faced an uphill battle as the restaurant denied all wrongdoing, blamed Officer Jay’s injury on his own placement at the job site, and blamed the severity of his injuries on his weight, age, and course of treatment. Officer Jay never blinked as we pushed his case forward through litigation to prove we would win at trial.
Through depositions we knocked down their defenses. While it was clear the bartender had done what he could to conceal drinking the bar’s stock, he admitted his then months long struggle with alcohol that any astute manager should have noticed. Further, at the time of this horrific incident, the bartender had spent hours drinking in what would have been full view of a manager in training. We were able to forcefully prove that while this restaurant may deny it knew anything, any reasonably managed restaurant would have seen and smelled that it had a major problem on its hands.
As Officer Jay’s case hurtled towards trial, the insurer for the restaurant pushed to settle and we were able to recover half a million dollars for Officer Jay, which more than restored the earnings he anticipated earning in retirement and compensated him for the damage done. It was through his earnest effort and resolute stand against the insurer’s efforts to cast doubt on his case that enabled us to push through and get him what he deserved. We are deeply proud to have represented Officer Jay and play a part in bringing a successful resolution to this difficult time for his family.
In order to protect the privacy of the injured person 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 to better educate everyone, especially police officers, about their legal rights to compensation when injured.