SDPD Officer Suffers Serious Injuries in DUI Related Crash

January 1, 2013

A San Diego Police Officer was injured in a DUI related accident in Santee. The Officer was returning to the Northwestern Division to end his shift after dropping off a prisoner at Las Colinas Detention Facility in Santee.  The Accident occurred Sunday morning around 2:30am, on Mission Gorge Road at State Route 125. The officers vehicle was struck on the driver's side by a Toyota pickup. The force of the impact was so strong that it knocked both vehicles off the road. The Officer was coherent when assistance arrived, however it took nearly an hour to extricate him from the vehicle.

The officer, who has been on the force for about a year, suffered broken bones and internal injuries, officials said. He was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital for surgery. His name and current condition were not released. The driver of the pickup, his name has also not yet been released, did not suffer major injuries. He admitted to drinking alcohol before the crash and was booked into San Diego central jail for felony DUI charges.

In accidents like this, it is important for the injured driver to understand all available rights of recovery. Being on duty, this officer will have coverage through workers' compensation. If the driver of the pick-up truck is indeed found to be at fault then his liability insurance and assets will be another source of recovery. Finally, if the above coverage options fail to fully compensate the injured officer, he could turn to his own automobile insurance coverage and make a claim with his uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Also called UM/UIM coverage.

UM/UIM coverage is available to everyone and stands in the place of an offending driver if that persons coverage is less than the UM/UIM coverage purchased. If the liable person has coverage, or other benefits are provided by workers' compensation benefits, then the UM/UIM coverage limits are reduced by those benefits. The remaining amount would be available to the injured.

For example, in the accident above, if the driver of the truck that caused the accident is uninsured and has no assets to pursue, then the officer will still receive workers' compensation benefits.  If we assume that he has $300,000 in UM/UIM coverage and received $100,000 in workers' compensation benefits, then he would still have $200,000 in UM/UIM benefits available to him.  This can be essential coverage because workers' compensation does not cover lost overtime earnings or damages available for pain, suffering and loss of quality of life.

UM/UIM insurance is the only part of ones auto policy that is designed to protect the insured from other drivers. This coverage is triggered in any accident where another vehicle is the cause of the accident.  It coverage any family member living in the household of the insured. Also note that the coverage does not require you to be in your covered vehicle at the time of the accident. The covered individual could be in a friends car, a cab, on a bicycle or even a pedestrian and still be covered, so long as the accident is caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.