Sometimes motor vehicle accidents appear to be minor, but until the person sees a medical professional, there is no way to know how severe the injuries sustained in the accident really are. As one former Philadelphia police officer now knows, even a small accident can result in big damage.
The 42-year-old police officer was on duty March 25, 2005 when he pulled into northbound traffic on 16th Street near John F. Kennedy Boulevard. He had just been at the scene of a robbed bank so his dome lights were still flashing when he came to a stop at a traffic light.
Suddenly, a car driven by a young woman bumped into the back of the squad car, causing no damage to either vehicle. Court records indicate that the woman had not been distracted by a cell phone or anything else prior to running into the officer’s car.
The woman was not injured and she was not cited with a traffic violation. The officer also did not consider himself badly injured.
However, when the officer was examined at Hahnemann University Hospital, it was discovered that, according to his attorney, his body had been “twisted and thrown in unusual directions” causing the officer to become temporarily blind in his left eye and suffer nerve damage in his right arm. The officer’s career was over.
The officer sued the woman, her father, and her father’s business, which owned the car she was driving, in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. The personal injury case was settled July 19 by a mediator for $1.3 million.
Motor vehicle accidents, no matter how minor they may seem at first, can result in very serious and permanent injuries. Because of this seemingly “innocent” accident that resulted in no damage to either car, a 14-year police veteran was put out of work.
Even if you appear to be involved in an accident with little or no damage, remember this case. Always get the other driver’s contact and insurance information and call the police to have the accident documented.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Former Philadelphia police officer gets $1.3 million settlement,” Sam Wood, Aug. 17, 2011.