In Mobile and across Alabama, law enforcement officers understand the fundamental requirements of their job and that they need to be in harm’s way to perform their duties. While that is often related to rescuing people, conducting investigation and making arrests, it can also involve something that can impact anyone: auto accidents. While on the job auto accidents can be categorized as happening in the line of duty, the workers’ compensation benefits are often limited and officers need to consider alternatives.
One officer’s plight after on-duty auto accident highlights potential challenges
A law enforcement officer’s problems after he was injured in an on-duty auto accident shows what these first responders might face in the aftermath. In this case, the officer was nearing the end of his shift five years ago when his vehicle was hit. At the time, the current state trooper was working for the Mobile police department. The vehicle that collided with his ran a stop sign. After the crash, he had injuries to his back, his ear, his knee and other concerns. The ear injury was a major challenge as there was a persistent ringing.
According to the investigation, the other driver was fleeing from a separate crash. His license was suspended and he did not have insurance. He was also under the influence of drugs. While workers’ compensation paid for his medical costs, other loss was not paid for because workers’ comp is limited in what it will cover. In addition, since the other driver did not have insurance, there was a limit to what could be recovered in a legal filing. Eventually, a settlement was reached based on the officer’s uninsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance is optional in the state and many choose not to have it.
Law enforcement officers injured in auto accidents should know their options
This case is an example of an officer who was unfortunate enough to be in an on-duty auto accident with a driver who did not have insurance. His own coverage was used to recover a limited amount. Not all accidents are this egregious. In many instances, it is just a crash in which a driver was insured and collided with an officer. Still, their workers’ compensation might be lacking in what it provides and other strategies must be considered. Given the physical and mental requirements for working in law enforcement, personal injury can derail a career, cause financial problems and leave them with an uncertain future. Considering a legal claim could be essential to be fully compensated for all that was lost and having assistance from the start is crucial.