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March 29, 2005 — Massachusetts Superior Court rules officer hit by friendly fire can make a claim against his personal automobile insurance policy. 

Attorney Steven Ballin obtained a favorable ruling from Superior Court Justice Mitchell J. Sikora Jr., declaring that a police officer who was hit by friendly fire that was intended for a fleeing van during a drug buy bust organized by a Federal Task Force, did have an injury that arose out of the operation of a motor vehicle. As a result of being hit by friendly fire, the injured officer became disabled and lost his career as a police officer. The court's ruling is significant as the van had no insurance coverage available since it was allegedly stolen, and the defendant, who was subsequently convicted and incarcerated, has no reachable assets to satisfy the injured officer's claim. Attorney Ballin made a claim against the injured officer's own automobile insurance policy under his Part 3 coverage for "Bodily Injury Caused By An Uninsured Auto." His claim was denied by his insurance company which claimed that: 1. his injury didn't arise out of the "operation" of an uninsured motor vehicle and 2. the injury to him was intended by the fleeing operator. Attorney Ballin argued that it was the negligent operation of the motor vehicle which threatened the lives and safety of the officer and the public, and that it caused him to be hit by friendly fire. Because of this, it should fall within his insurance coverage and, because the injury to him was not intentional (and even if it was) it didn't disqualify the officer from reaching his own insurance. The Court agreed to permit the injured officer and his wife to collect from their own personal automobile insurance policy. This favorable ruling is currently tied up on post trial motions. The insurance company has filed a notice of its intent to appeal the ruling to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals. The case reference is Michael D. Chapdelaine and Kara M. Chapdelaine vs. Boston Old Colony Insurance Company, Norfolk Superior Court Civil Action No. 01-01738-B.

November 10, 2005 — Rhode Island Supreme Court to decide whether injured officer entitled to prejudgment interest on arbitration award in connection with injuries sustained when injured on duty. 

Attorney Steven Ballin appeared before all five justices of the Supreme Court for the State of Rhode Island in an effort to obtain prejudgment interest on a favorable arbitration award received by a Seekonk police officer who was injured on duty when his vehicle was struck while on a detail at a local movie theater by an underinsured auto. The motor vehicle drove through an intersection with no headlights in the dark of night and T-boned the officer's vehicle. Attorney Ballin argued at the hearing before the Supreme Court that the arbitrators mistakenly failed to award the injured officer prejudgment interest on the amount of money the officer received from the defendant's insurance company. If successful, the injured officer will not only receive the additional prejudgment interest, but future Rhode Island accident victims may be entitled to the same prejudgment interest on their future claims. The injured officer had made a claim against his own personal "Bodily Injury Caused by an Underinsured Auto" coverage, which was a Rhode Island insurance policy. Because there was no agreement on the amount of his claim, it proceeded to arbitration before three arbitrators in Rhode Island. The case name is Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company v. Colin Barry, No. 2003-478-A. The case garnered much local attention on this hotly debated issue with court accepting the filing of amicus curiae briefs by the Rhode Island Trial Lawyers Association and the Casualty Insurers of America. A decision is expected within the next two months.

Please check back with us in the future for future case reports and news items that we will be posting to this page. If you interested in learning more about our services and how we can help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries, please contact our Massachusetts police injury attorneys for more information at (800) 245-2052 or Email Us.

This Our Results summary is based upon an actual case where we collected this compensation for a Massachusetts police officer injured on duty. Be advised that every incident presents its own unique set of facts and circumstances. Therefore, this or other past results of ours, are not a predictor or guaranty of success or results on any current or future case. We work on these cases on a contingent fee basis which means injured officers only pay for our services if and when we successfully collect money for them. There is never a fee charged for us to review a matter for an injured police officer. For more information, please see Using Our Website


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    - William J. Nardozzi (Retired), Seekonk Police Dept.
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