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Insurance Limits

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#1 DrMLKing


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Posted 08 July 2012 - 10:22 PM

A City Police Officer in Pennsylvania struck and critically injured my father at a major city intersection controlled with traffic lights. My father entered the intersection on green light and the independent investigation conducted by State Police determined that the City Police Officer ran a red light.



The police officer was on duty operating a marked police vehicle, but was not engaged in an emergency police matter at the time of the accident (i.e., not in pursuit or driving to an emergency); additionally the vehicle emergency lights and sirens were not on.




My fathers Injuries included multiple fractures of pelvis, fractured femur, severed artery in leg, multiple hematomas and lacerations, and acute kidney failure. He spent 2 weeks in ICU and over 8 weeks in SNF/ Rehab center. Once the broken bones are healed to the point where he becomes weight bearing, he will need physical therapy for a couple of months to regain mobility and long term medical issues are still evolving such as foot drop, loss of grip, nerve damages, bladder functions, etc. Up until the accident my father was a very healthy and active individual and still working.


When a law suit is pursued for recovery of medical expenses, pain and suffering and damages, is the suit capped by the limits of the cities insurance coverage or limited under qualified immunity? Should the suit go against the cities insurance, the police officer personal insurance, or both?



(i.e., if the cap under the cities insurance is set at $500,000 and medical expenses alone exceed $500,000, can the suit go after his personal insurance and assets or is he protected under “qualified immunity”? )

(e.g.;  $500,000 (insurance limit) - $165,000 ( 1/3 to atty) - $700,000 (estimated payback of medical expenses) = -$365,000. My father’s medical insurance would still need to cover over $365,000 and my father receives nothing for his injuries, pain and suffering or damage to his vehicle.)

#2 pg1067


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Posted 09 July 2012 - 03:26 AM

The limits of the insurance do not cap the damages.  Whether there is any sort of statutory cap on damages in a personal injury case against a state or local officer is something you'd have to discuss with a PA personal injury attorney.  The insurers would not be proper defendants.  The proper defendants would be the officer and the city that employs him.


Note that your father will likely be required to give a notice of claim to the city as a prerequisite to suing, and there may be a VERY short fuse on that, so he (or you on his behalf) should not hesitate to consult with a local personal injury attorney.

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