Casale v. City of Cranston is a recent Rhode Island case dealing with issues surrounding insurance coverage and injured on duty benefits.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Bangor, it is important to know what insurance proceeds and benefits you are entitled to. Having an experienced Bangor injury attorney can give you the award you deserve to get the medical help you need.
James Casale (Casale or plaintiff) was employed by the City of Cranston (City) as a firefighter. After receiving notification of an emergency, plaintiff was driving a firefighter emergency vehicle to the location of the call. In transit, the emergency vehicle was struck by a vehicle driven by an uninsured driver. This uninsured driver was driving the vehicle negligently, and caused the accident with the emergency vehicle being driven by plaintiff.
As a result of this accident, plaintiff suffered serious injuries which caused him to be unable to perform crucial job related activities for several months. Because plaintiff had been injured while on duty, the city gave him injured-on-duty (IOD) benefits. While receiving these IOD benefits, plaintiff began a claim for uninsured motorist (UM) benefits with his insurance company, Amica Mutual Insurance Company (Amica). This dispute between the plaintiff and the City is a result this plaintiff’s claim with Amica.
Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of insurance benefits offered when you buy your automobile insurance. This type of coverage provides protection if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. Because you cannot collect benefits from an uninsured driver, your insurance company will compensate you. This type of coverage is not standard in every state; however, it is critical to speak with your insurance representative to discuss the option of purchasing this coverage.
In this case, the plaintiff had a UM policy for $100,000. Because the City had already paid the plaintiff a significant amount in IOD benefits, Amica subtracted that amount from the policy limit of $100,000 and gave plaintiff the difference. Upon finding out about this claim, the city argued that the plaintiff was required to pay it back the amount they paid in IOD benefits. Plaintiff countered this argument by claiming that the city was not entitled to this reimbursement and asked the court to make a judicial determination of this.
The City acknowledged that the plaintiff was injured while he was performing his job duties and that he rightfully obtained IOD benefits from the city. However, the city countered the plaintiff’s argument stating that because the plaintiff had received UM benefits from Amica, the city should be reimbursed consistent with a state statute regarding liability to third persons. States have adopted statutes to protect liable parties from situations where the injured victim collects double the damages.
The city reasoned that Amica should be seen as “the person liable to pay damages” under the statute governing liability of third persons for damages. They argued that just as the insurance company steps in the shoes of the uninsured driver and pays benefits to their insured, the insurance company should be treated as the uninsured driver. And the statute the city pointed to stated that where the uninsured driver makes payments to the injured victim, the insurance company is reimbursed for any over-payments.
The lower court found in favor of the plaintiff and refused to award the city with the reimbursement they asked for. This court heard the appeal from the lower court’s decision and found in favor of the plaintiff finding that the City of Cranston was not entitled to reimbursements from the proceeds of plaintiff’s UM benefits.
If you have been injured contact Bangor injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates to schedule a free appointment. Call 1-800-804-2004.
Casale v. City of Cranston, No. 2010-162-Appeal (R.I. S.Ct. Apr. 4, 2012).