One good deed...

Posted: October 15, 2013

TOMORROW, one day after the fourth anniversary of the day he mistakenly became a good Samaritan, Douglas Baylor will move one step closer to justice.

I doubt that Baylor, 51, thinks helping someone was a mistake, but his good deed started a chain of events resulting in physical pain, mental anguish and financial loss.

After kicking around in the courts for a couple of years, Baylor gets a status conference tomorrow in New Jersey Superior Court. The conference is needed, because the judge needs to know if Baylor wants to move ahead with his civil suit without an attorney. Baylor tells me that after he fired his lawyer, who had been a personal friend, he is having trouble finding a new one.

To understand the present, you have to understand the past, so let's go back to the afternoon of Oct. 14, 2009. Baylor is sitting in A Cut Above the Rest barbershop in a shopping center built on a slope in Woodbury, N.J. A man comes in and asks Baylor to help him free a Toyota Scion hatchback that a woman has accidentally driven over two lane-separation barriers. The Scion's wheels are off the ground and can't move. Some bystanders are laughing in the sunshine at the distraught woman's predicament.

I'm guessing the man recruited Baylor because of Baylor's stout build. He had worked heavy construction and in his youth wrestled at Paulsboro High School and got into the University of Kentucky on a wrestling scholarship.

Baylor goes into the parking lot, sees Adrian Rogerson, the driver of the car. The other man, a stranger whose name Baylor thinks was Leo, asks the woman to put the car in neutral and Baylor pushes from the driver's side, Leo from the passenger's side.

A grunt here, a groan here and the car is free. Rogerson thanks the men who turn and walk away, but the Scion starts rolling toward the men in the sloped parking lot.

They turn and put their hands on the hood to try to stop it. Baylor gets clipped on the right hip by the Scion as it comes to rest against a parked car.

A mortified Rogerson is apologetic, Baylor says, and asks if he's OK. Cops arrive to take statements.

Rogerson tells Baylor to go to a doctor and she will pay the bills, he tells me, but Baylor pretty much shrugs it off.

He does go to the doctor the next day, he's told he has a bone bruise and it will clear up in eight to 10 weeks. It does. But . . .

Several months later, after working out in the gym, he feels an unusual soreness in his hip that doesn't go away. He goes to the Rothman Institute, where a doctor tells him that his pre-existing arthritis was aggravated when he got struck by the Scion and he needs a replacement hip.

He gets the new hip, paid for by Cigna HealthCare through his union policy. But he is going to miss work and gets a lawyer to reach Rogerson, who should have auto insurance, to pay for his meds, doctor bills and his lost time from work. That goes nowhere, so Baylor files a civil suit.

Efforts to reach Rogerson and her attorney on Friday were unsuccessful, but in her statement to police, she says Baylor's aid was unrequested, and she makes no mention of offering remuneration.

Meanwhile, Cigna has filed a lien against Baylor for $38,554 of the $65,113 it paid for the hip replacement. Baylor doesn't know why Cigna is suing him.

"Shouldn't they be suing her insurance company?" Baylor asks. I called his Cigna rep, who was off Friday, and another agent declined to comment.

So Baylor gets his status conference tomorrow, he can't get a lawyer, he's out close to $50,000 in lost wages and medical bills, and Cigna has its hand out.

It's a bad outcome for a good Samaritan.


Phone: 215-854-5977

On Twitter: @StuBykofsky



comments powered by Disqus