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- February Senate Finance Committee Testimony
- February Senate Finance Hearing Update
- January Legislative Update
IT’S TIME AGAIN FOR A “LEGAL” CHECKUP
By: Bob Gorsky
Lyon, Gorsky, Haring & Gilbert, L.L.P.
DPSOA Legal Counsel
You’d be surprised at how many automobile accident cases we handle for law enforcement officers who are hit, many while on duty, by individuals (often drunk) who carry little insurance or worse yet, no insurance at all. The state mandated minimum coverage of $25,000 is just not enough and you need to be prepared both for yourself and your family. As a result, every year I write about the importance of carrying the right amount of insurance, documenting your personal effects in your home and the importance of disability insurance.
To protect you and your family, I offer this short list of items which need to be included in a periodic “legal” checkup:
1) Uninsured/underinsured motorist’s coverage. The difference in premiums for $100,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist’s coverage versus $25,000 of coverage is about $50 per vehicle, per year. It’s worth it and you will appreciate the benefits should you be involved in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver. This coverage applies even though you are on duty and in a state vehicle.
2) Personal Injury Protection. This “no fault” coverage is a must. “PIP” covers all of your medical bills and 80% of your lost wages, including your part-time job wage loss. The minimum coverage available is $2,500, but you can also buy $5,000 or $10,000 of coverage. This coverage also pays while you are “on the job.”
3) Survey your household items. In the event of a fire or burglary, you have the burden of proving to your homeowners insurance company both the identity and value of damage or stolen items. A written list or better yet, a videotape of your household items along with as many receipts as possible offers support for your property loss claim. If you think your insurance company will take your word for it, then you must believe that the state is going to take care of you in your old age.
4) Check your disability and health insurance. You have a health policy of some type, but it doesn’t cover all medical treatment. For example, rehabilitation needs in the event of a disabling injury or medical condition are limited or not considered at all. I can think of at least three cases where officers or their family members were not able to get the rehabilitation care they needed because it wasn’t available under their health plan.
As for disability coverage, if you work a part-time job and are hurt (on or off duty), you may lose or be prohibited from working your part-time employment. While you are on sick time, injury time or limited-duty status, a part-time job is not allowed.
5) A Will, along with various powers of attorney that allow you to plan ahead so that your business and legal affairs, as well as make important health care decisions, are handled consistent with your wishes. For more on Wills and the necessary powers of attorney go to our website dedicated to Wills: www.LyonGorskyWills.com.
These are just a few critical areas that need to be addressed by every DPS officer. If you have any questions regarding these issues, feel free to contact me.
Bob Gorsky is a partner at the Dallas law firm of Lyon, Gorsky, Haring & Gilbert, L.L.P., 3131 McKinney Avenue, Suite 100, Dallas, Texas 75204; 214-956-0090 or toll free 888-711-2583, website: www.LyonGorsky.com and email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.