Police Officer Rights: On- and Off-Duty Car Accidents
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 police officers injured in auto accidents number even more.
Fatal auto accidents involving police officers are a double tragedy: they leave the community without a dedicated officer, and they leave 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 Indiana 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.
The help of an experienced Indiana police officer injury lawyer can be invaluable as you sort out the factors that led to your accident and determine where you stand under the law. For instance, you may have a valid legal claim against the manufacturer of a vehicle part that malfunctioned or was defective, or against a mechanic who installed or maintained the part improperly. You may also have a claim against a driver whose negligence or disregard of traffic rules resulted in your accident.
Your claims against others involved in your vehicle collision may cover such losses as medical expenses, lost wages, damages for pain and suffering, and other forms of compensation. Meanwhile, whether your damages will be reduced under Indiana's comparative fault laws can depend on such factors as whether you were on or off duty or were sticking to your training and the rules of protocol at the time of your accident.
Consult an experienced Indiana S.W.A.T. Commander (ret) and Police Officer Rights Attorney
At Sevenish Law Firm, attorney Randy Sevenish combines his experience as a former police officer with the knowledge of a skilled personal injury attorney to provide aggressive representation to Indiana police officers injured in motor vehicle accidents. Mr. Sevenish will handle your case personally, helping you and your family through a difficult time while fighting for the maximum compensation you deserve. Call Sevenish Law Firm today at 800-278-9200 for a free and confidential consultation.