Off-duty police officer working security sues insurance companies who wont pay after he’s injured www.privateofficer.com
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. May 2 2012 – A police officer hit by a car while directing traffic is now suing several insurance companies after he says the companies have all denied him coverage.
Detective Charles Aaron Cook and his lawyer filed the lawsuit Monday in Kanawha County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit targets the defendant for negligence but also the officer’s insurance for not providing medical coverage or worker’s compensation.
On Dec. 17, 2011, Cook was directing traffic at Trace Fork Shopping Center along Corridor G when he was struck by a car. The driver tried to take off but was stopped by officers. The woman claimed she didn’t see Cook.
Since then, Cook has racked up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills for his recovery.
“He’s incurring medical expenses at a pretty rapid rate,” attorney Ben Salango said. “Just an MRI is more than he makes in a month, and so right now he’s forced to incur those medical expenses on his own.”
Adding to the pain, the woman who hit him has minimal insurance coverage, which was not nearly enough to cover Cook’s injuries. To add insult to injury, Cook’s claim was rejected by his insurance company and he was also denied worker’s compensation.
“Basically it’s workers comp and the medical insurance company are both pointing the finger at one another,” Salango said. “So he was left with no choice other than to file a lawsuit.”
The city of South Charleston wouldn’t comment on camera. However, the city manager told us Cook wasn’t working at the time of the accident and view his role as a private contractor.
Even though Cook was wearing his uniform and had his cruiser with him, he was off duty and even being paid by THF Realty group, which owns the shopping center.
“I know all these private companies — no one wants to pay,” Cook said. “They’re just pointing a finger at each other. It’s almost been six months, and I’m the only one who’s been paying.”
“They’re trying to rely on every loop hole they can find to get out of paying what they should be paying,” Salango said.
It’s left a gray area of who’s to blame and who should pay for an officer who was just trying to do his job.
THF Realty only has property insurance and doesn’t employ anyone full time in West Virginia to have medical insurance.
City leaders admit they’ve worried about a situation like this happening and are leaving the decision of who pays up to a judge.
Cook says he’s had to forgo some of his needed therapy since the insurance companies won’t cooperate.