The Orlando Sentinel featured a report this morning about an Osceola County Deputy who was injured in a significant head-on automobile accident at the intersection of Boggy Creek Road and Lakeside Drive in Kissimmee.

Apparently, Deputy Rolin Holsteen was headed northbound on Boggy Creak Road as he approached the intersection. At that same time, Wilma Noa was driving her BMW in the opposite direction, also approaching the intersection. Neither driver realized that Hiram Cruz was also approaching the intersection, heading east on Lakeside Drive.

For reasons that are unclear at this time, Mr. Cruz apparently entered the intersection without stopping or yielding to traffic, but directly into the path of Ms. Noa. Ms. Noa was able to avoid colliding with Mr. Cruz, but wound up crashing head-on into Deputy Holsteen’s vehicle. Deputy Holsteen was seriously injured and was airlifted from the scene and delivered to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment. According to the article, Mr. Cruz was cited for causing the crash.
As it often the case, a significant car crash like this one raises a bunch of automobile insurance issues. As an Orlando accident attorney, I believe that other injured motorists can often benefit from a step-by-step analysis of accidents like these.

** Workers Compensation – Although the article was not specific, it appears that Deputy Holsteen was operating his police cruiser at the time of the crash. It is probably safe to assume that he was on-the-job when this crash occurred. Accidents or injuries suffered on-the-job are generally covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance provided by the employer. Thus Deputy Holsteen’s initial medical expenses and 2/3 of his lost wages (if any) should be paid by Workers’ Compensation.

** Bodily Injury Liability insurance – Even though Deputy Holsteen was on the job, and presumably receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits, he can still assert a claim against anyone who was negligent and caused his injuries. Since Worker’s Compensation covers only medical bills and lost wages, a claim against the negligent driver(s) is the only way that Deputy Holsteen will ever get compensated for the pain, suffering, and inconvenience, a crash like this one always causes.

If the negligent persons carried liability insurance, said insurance should respond to Deputy Holsteen’s claims. It is obvious that a claim can, and should, be made against Mr. Cruz Deputy Holsteen will have to hope that Mr. Cruz carried plenty of liability coverage.

In addition, Deputy Holsteen may also have a claim against Ms. Noa for not using reasonable care in the way that she evaded the near-accident with Mr. Cruz. Perhaps an argument could be made that she should have veered to a location of the road, instead of into oncoming traffic? If Ms. Noa had liability coverage, her carrier may also need to respond to a claim by Deputy Holsteen.

** PIP benefits – If Deputy Holsteen is successful asserting claims against Mr. Cruz or Ms. Noa, he will have to reimburse the Workers’ Compensation carrier for benefits paid. If Deputy Holsteen owns a car of his own, he can use his personal PIP benefits to help reimburse the Workers’ Compensation carrier.

** Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage – in the event that Mr. Cruz or Ms. Noa carried zero, or very little, liability coverage, Deputy Holsteen could still recover from his own, personal automobile insurance – even though he was injured while on-the-job, driving a police car.

As you can see, car accidents like this one raise a lot of insurance issues. In this instance, we are going to hope that Deputy Holsteen heals quickly from his injuries, and that he gets connected with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney to help him with these issues.

If you have any questions about a Florida car accident claim, or Florida automobile insurance issues, call Orlando personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen or Bob Hemphill at 407-644-4444.

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