The family of a Washington police officer who was critically injured in a horrific cliff fall in Croatia have expressed the bitter devastation they felt when they were told their travel insurance would not cover hospital costs and a flight home because they had alcohol in her system.
Ella Cutler, 25, has been in hospital since she nearly fell to her death at a popular photography spot on August 26, suffering a series of serious fractures and two lung injuries.
Speaking to 7NEWS from Europe, where they supported the officer in her hospital bed in Dubrovnik, Cutler’s family revealed that she is now on her own financially.
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“We were told she had a five percent chance of survival,” said mother Nicole Cutler.
“When we found out that the insurance company had let us down, we were completely shocked.
“I can’t even begin to explain what that was like. I never expected that insurance wouldn’t help us bring her home.
“I don’t understand it (and) I’m really confused as to how an insurance company could imagine that a family or someone who purchased insurance in good faith would be able to navigate their way through something like this.”
RAC WA sold the policy to the officer, but another company called Tokio Marine is handling the claim.
On the positive side, the administrator states that he is processing the “open claim” but does not explain the fine print of the policy or state how many drinks will invalidate it.
The Insurance Council says most travel insurance policies cover people under the influence of alcohol up to 0.19 per cent, which is just under four times the legal limit for driving.
Cutler’s family has reached out to him Crowdfunding She was looking for a financial lifeline and hoping to raise $500,000 to pay her medical bills and fly her home – and the community rallied together
With $425,000 raised so far, it is one of the top five GoFundMe campaigns in Australia this year.
On Friday, WA Police released a short video to continue the momentum.
The 40-second clip included a compilation of snaps and videos that highlighted her vivacious personality and her work as a “dedicated” officer who was dating a 34-year-old man at the time of the accident.
It was also revealed on Friday that Cutler is the niece of Julie Cutler, who was just 22 when she disappeared after a work event in Perth on June 20, 1988.
Her car was discovered in the sea off Cottesloe Beach two days later, but her body was never found.
Her disappearance remains one of WA’s most persistent cold cases.