County agrees to pay medical expenses for man injured in police chase

By Brady Bauman

Riley County commissioners on Monday agreed to a settlement in a lawsuit over an unpaid medical bill for a man who was injured following a police chase.
The suit, brought by the board of Stormont-Vail Healthcare Inc. of Topeka, concerned care for Jason Fisher of Marysville, who was injured on Feb. 19, 2011, after he fled police and rolled his vehicle, according to police records.
In an executive session Monday, the county agreed to settle and pay $6,300 for Fisher’s medical expenses.
In a press release from county counselor Clancy Holeman, commissioners said “each party would have had some level of risk in the event of a trial, including prejudgment interest against Riley County. The Board believes payment of this reduced amount of the claim is in the best interest of Riley County.”
Originally, the medical bill totaled $39,832.40 after the patient was treated for two days, according to Stormont’s petition.
Under Kansas law, Riley County was entitled to pay the reduced Medicaid rate for the medical bills, reducing the total potential liability to $7,594.65.
Holeman told The Mercury in March that the hospital approached the county about paying the bill some time ago, but the county declined to pay.
“At this point, it’s just a disagreement about liability,” Holeman said at the time.
The county’s liability was in question because Fisher’s injuries happened during a police pursuit rather than while he was custody, which would have been the county’s responsibility.
Fisher reportedly was a passenger in the pickup of a person who was arrested for drunken driving. After the driver was arrested, Fisher started the truck and drove away from police.
Following a chase, Fisher rolled the vehicle and sustained serious internal injuries. He was sent to Stormont-Vail via ambulance after first being transported to Mercy Regional Health Center.

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