A 78 year old man on his way to buy donuts was killed when he was struck by a police cruiser involved in the active pursuit of a criminal suspect. The Whitehall police officer was also injured in this accident. Rourke and Blumenthal extends our condolences to the family of the man killed in this crash as well as the police officer. Unfortunately, from a legal perspective, the family of the man killed in this crash may be limited in their ability to recover damages for his death even though he may not have been at fault whatsoever for this tragic accident.
For public policy reasons, Ohio law generally does not allow police and emergency responders to be held liable for causing injuries and/or death in auto accidents so long as the cruiser or squad had its lights and sirens on at the time of the crash. Since a recovery cannot be made against the government in this situation, the logical next step is to turn to the victim's own auto insurance company to make a claim through the uninsured motorist coverage. The sole reason people purchase uninsured motorist coverage as part of their automobile insurance is to cover them in situations where they are injured by another driver through no fault of their own and the other driver does not have insurance to cover the damages caused. In an effort to avoid compensating their clients for injuries and even the death of a loved one, insurance companies fight very hard to prevent paying claims where their own clients are hurt by an emergency vehicle. Insurance companies argue that, since their own client isn't legally able to recover from the government because it was an emergency run, the innocent client isn't allowed to recover from the insurance company either. So much for insurance premiums and all those feel good insurance commercials we see on TV all the time. Read the entire article here.
We bring this issue to your attention in case you may want to talk to your insurance agent about what your uninsured motorist coverage really covers.
Our Columbus personal injury attorneys also recommend that all concerned citizens bring this grossly unfair insurance practice to the attention of their State Legislators as the only way it will be changed is by legislation. Here are the sites that enable you to identify and contact your state house of representative and senator: