She was in a bad car accident and rushed to the hospital. The police officer took her purse from the car to look for her license, but then the purse was stolen with cash and credit cards inside. Do the police have to replace it? And if not, who? Let’s bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser with the story.
It was not a nice Friday evening for Andrea.
Andrea Porter, purse stolen at accident: “[It was] 11:45 p.m. I was leaving the hospital, my son was admitted for a collapsed lung.”
As Andrea drove home from visiting her son, things went from bad to worse.
Andrea Porter: “And a car lost control and ran into me.”
This is the front of Andrea’s car.
Andrea Porter: “It was the most terrifying experience.”
The impact ripped Andrea’s eyelid off and left her eye filled with pieces of glass. Her leg was also gashed to the bone.
Patricia Louis, Andrea’s mother: “Just thank God she is alive. That is all I can say.”
But Andrea’s concern at the accident was not her injuries. Instead, it was her purse, because inside it, she had the money to pay that month’s rent.
Andrea Porter: “So I asked for my purse, but they advised me that we needed to get to the emergency room.”
After Andrea was rushed to the hospital, a Plantation Police officer said he put the purse on the top of the car. It has not been seen since, leaving Andrea with more problems.
Andrea Porter: “I have all my social [security cards] for me and my kids, our birth certificates, all of my credit cards, bank cards.”
Whoever took the purse used Andrea’s food assistance card, or EBT card, in Opa-locka — twice — taking $348 each time.
And, the officer who wrote the stolen purse report said Andrea told him there was $100 in the purse. Andrea says no, she told him hundreds.
Andrea Porter: “It was around $1,500 in the purse. That was my payday week.”
Her eyelid is gone, her face is battered, and fortunately, doctors can fix that. Nowhere near as important, her purse and rent money are missing, and Andrea can’t resolve that.
Andrea Porter: “It’s a tragedy for me that the purse was lost because I’m not able to tell collectors or the landlord, ‘I’m sorry.'”
Well, Howard, while Andrea was being rushed to the hospital, her purse and its contents disappeared. Who is responsible for replacing it?
Howard Finkelstein: “This one is easy. When the police officer opened the purse to remove the license, legally it became his responsibility. And when it was stolen, the city became responsible for the purse and its contents. And they have to pay Andrea for what she lost.”
It took a couple of months of negotiating to resolve this.
At first, the City of Plantation only offered Andrea $100 since the police report said that’s how much money was in her purse. A supplemental report was then written to change the $100 to the $1,500 Andrea said was in her wallet.
I spoke to Plantations Risk Management Group again. Instead of the $1,500 Andrea says was in the purse and the $696 stolen from her EBT card, Plantation gave her about half of that: $1,052.
Andrea accepted it.
Howard Finkelstein: “In a case like this, where it’s hard to prove how much cash you had in the purse, compromising is fair for the city to do, and probably the best thing for Andrea to accept.”
Andrea Porter: “It’s not an actual eyelid yet, but they are working to replace it.”
Andrea still has more surgery to replace the eyelid, and while she says she didn’t get everything she lost, at least she has one less thing to worry about.
Andrea Porter: “Help Me Howard is a lifesaver. For people who cannot fight, they fight for you. And I am definitely happy and I’m thankful.”
Patrick Fraser: “Thanks, Andrea. And, I was told Andrea’s check from Plantation is being mailed to her this week. And remember, at the scene of an accident, once the police take control, they can stop you from going into your own car to get your property, but as Howard said, once they take control, they are also responsible for any valuables in the vehicle.
Purse-ing a solution to your problem? Can’t see a way to solve it? Contact us. We can’t operate on you, but we are good at picking up the pieces. With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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