Few jobs are more openly dangerous than serving as a police officer in the line of duty. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, approximately 162 police officers die in the line of duty each year. Of these, approximately 47 die in auto accidents, and an additional 16 or more die after being struck by a vehicle. Car accidents claim more officers' lives each year than any other cause except shootings, while policemen injured in car accidents number more.
Fatal car accidents involving police officers are on the rise, leaving the community without a dedicated officer, and the family without the joy and comfort of a loved one's presence. Auto accidents that cause injury can also be devastating. Even moderate injuries can result in lost time from work, hobbies, and family duties, as well as expensive treatment and rehabilitation. Whether these accidents occur in the line of duty, during training, or while commuting in a personal vehicle, car accidents pose a significant risk to the lives and health of Indiana's police officers.
Unlike regular passenger vehicle drivers, police officers may be able to temporarily disregard typical traffic rules and signals in emergency situations or when pursuing a suspect. If an officer is in pursuit and has his or her siren on, and other motorists are not paying close attention to their surroundings, are speeding, or if their car radio or music is too loud, serious car accidents can occur. Because the police have this leeway under the law to perform their duties and since other motorists may be distracted, car accidents that involve Pennsylvania police officers can be legally complicated.
Who you choose to pursue a legal claim against and how you make that claim will depend on a number of factors. These include whether you were on or off duty when the accident occurred; the type of vehicle you were driving; whether you or anyone else involved in the accident disregarded training, rules of protocol, or traffic regulations; and whether any vehicle components malfunctioned or were defective. Please call the Lassen Law Firm, Philadelphia personal injury lawyers, to discuss your case confidentially.