A woman corporal is pursuing legal action against the Office of the Commissioner of Police (CoP) claiming personnel failed to submit her national insurance claims for injuries suffered in the line of duty, accident and surgery.
Corporal Nicole Cummings sent a pre action protocol letter to Office of the CoP, last Monday, through her attorney Darryl Worrell.
Cummings’ claims centre around her being shot and hospitalised in the line of duty, placed on a hit list by criminals which forced her to relocate from her home, injuries sustained as a police motor cyclist, as well as being injured off duty.
The corporal, currently assigned to the St James Police Academy, alleges personnel failed to submit her national insurance benefit claims on time to the National Insurance Board in accordance with the National Insurance (Benefits) Regulations 7(4) as Amended by Act 9 of 2004. Worrell said he was instructed to serve a pre action protocol letter because of the Office of the CoP’s continued failure to submit timely applications to NIB for compensation on Cummings’ behalf.
“This will be the fourth time woman corporal Cummings was seriously injured and did not receive compensation from the NIB nor the Protective Services Compensation Committee, and she now feels she has no other recourse but to take legal action to recover compensation to which she is entitled,” added Worrell.
He said Cummings has paid national insurance for many years, even before she joined the service almost 18 years ago, but she has repeatedly lost out on compensation because the Office of CoP allegedly misplaced documents or submitted applications long after deadlines.
“She is not asking for anything special, all she is asking for is the compensation she is entitled to from the NIB, the protection she has been paying for over the years,” said Worrell. Cummings was injured in an accident in 2004 as a police motor-cyclist, in 2005 she was shot by another officer at Four Roads Police Station in 2005, she also underwent lung surgery in 2015 and on September 24, 2016 she was injured in a vehicular accident.
Following each incident she was hospitalised and was unable to work for several months. “Despite these injuries, Cummings is passionate about policing and is determined to continue contributing to TT via the Police Service,” said Worrell. Worrell said her first claim was thrown out by the NIB for late submission whilst the second claim is presently before the National Insurance Appeal Tribunal since 2006.
“The current claim is already late and she wants to prevent a repeat of her past experience. Therefore, she is now forced to take legal action to recover lost compensation from the previous three cases and to ensure action is taken to submit the current application.”
He said although sick leave claims must be submitted within 90 days of the injury, it’s a year now and despite Cummings’ submission to the Office of the CoP within a week of the incident, and made numerous visits to police administration, the current claim has not yet been submitted to the NIB.
“She has visited police administration many times, and has even broken down in tears in presence of seniors officers at the human resource branch but they continually misplace her file,” said Worrell.
“This experience is too much for my client who genuinely loves her job and has received recognition and commendations over the years for her performance.
“So you can understand that taking this legal step was a very difficult decision for her,” he added.
Worrell hopes Cummings can receive the compensation to which she is entitled.