Ballin Law

Massachusetts police officer personal injury claim


Since 1935, Massachusetts law has been that a negligent actor is liable for the aggravation of pre-existing conditions. All that is required is that the condition is exacerbated or made worse by the new incident. Our client, Massachusetts Police Officer D. Malone, put this to the test – three times. Officer Malone hired us on three separate occasions to represent him for injuries he sustained on duty as a Massachusetts police officer.

The first incident involved a suspect operating a getaway car following a robbery. While unsuccessfully attempting to flee, the suspect crashed into multiple vehicles, including Officer Malone’s cruiser. Following the incident, Officer Malone saw his orthopedic surgeon who had performed a discectomy on his lower back about seven months prior. There was also a second lower back discectomy a few years prior to that. According to his surgeon’s written opinion, though, this incident caused a new onset of back pain with radiating symptoms into Officer Malone’s right leg. Although Officer Malone was able to avoid missing work, about five months into physical therapy he was involved in the second work-related incident.

In the second incident, a hotel guest pulled out of the parking lot onto a local highway and promptly crashed into the passenger side of Officer Malone’s cruiser. Once again, he suffered an exacerbation to his lower back injury. Officer Malone found himself back in his orthopedic doctor’s office. This time, though, his orthopedic records confirmed that Officer Malone had sustained two new disc herniations in his lower back, which resulted in a different pattern of radiating symptoms from the previous incident. Officer Malone was again able to avoid missing work. And while steroid injections and physical therapy were improving his condition, about five months later, Officer Malone was involved in yet another on-duty crash.

The final work-related incident was the most significant of the three. This time, a fleeing drug dealer caused a head-on crash with Officer Malone’s cruiser, causing injuries to his lower back and left hip, both of which required surgery. Officer Malone’s injuries would keep him out of work for well over a year. Once again, Officer Malone’s back surgeon provided opinions that his injuries, including an exacerbation to a pre-existing foot drop condition, were caused by the third incident.

In all three of Officer Malone’s cases, obtaining the opinions of his orthopedic specialists as to the cause of his injuries enabled us to resolve Officer Malone’s claims without the need for litigation. The first case settled with the insurer of the getaway car for $27,000. The second case settled for a total of $35,000 (the hotel guest’s $20,000 policy limit plus a $15,000 settlement with Officer Malone’s personal auto insurer for injuries caused by an underinsured auto). The third case settled for the fleeing drug dealer’s $100,000 policy limit.

Unfortunately, Officer Malone did not have additional coverage available through his personal auto insurance policy for injuries caused by an underinsured auto, so his recovery as to the third incident was limited to the third-party settlement. Click here for more information about what we consider to be “full coverage”. and here for another case study of an injured Massachusetts police officer who recovered on an insurance claim for an exacerbation of a pre-existing condition.

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 Massachusetts police 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 on duty.

Ballin & Associates, LLC specializes in representing injured police officers and their families. Since 1981, Ballin & Associates’ attorneys have practiced in the field of personal injury law and successfully represented injured police officers in over 200 departments throughout Massachusetts. Cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, which means no legal fee is due unless and until money is successfully collected. Consultations are free and confidential. If you were injured in your capacity as a public safety officer or for more information, please call 508-543-3700 or visit us at

Jared N. Ballin, personal injury attorney
Jared N. Ballin, Esq.

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