Earlier this summer in this blog, we discussed statistics showing that in 2011, Tennessee police officers were responsible for causing crashes that killed four people and injured an additional 637. Sadly, a crash in Memphis last week added another four people to the list of individuals who have been harmed by speeding police cruisers.
Last month, two people were killed and another two were critically injured when their vehicle was hit by a Memphis Police Department squad car. Witnesses say the officer was speeding before the crash and may have run a red light.
The MPD says that the officer was travelling to assist another officer at the time of the crash. However, he did not have his siren or lights active. MPD rules require officers to use their lights and sirens whenever they are traveling over the speed limit or ignoring stop signs. When officers break this rule, the city can be held liable for damages resulting from any injuries or fatalities.
The officer involved in the crash has been relieved of duty pending the results of an investigation.
Memphis Police Crashes
The realities of police work mean that officers will sometimes have to speed or ignore traffic laws in order to respond to an emergency situation. However, when they do this, they must drive in a way that does not pose an unreasonable risk to others on the road.
People who are injured in a crash caused by a negligent police officer have a right to seek financial compensation for the harm that has been done to them. However, because of the complexities involved in these cases, proving liability can sometimes be more difficult than in civilian accidents. As such, it is important for victims to enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney before taking action.
Source: WREG Memphis, “MPD Says Officer In Fatal Crash Not In ‘Emergency Mode,'” George Brown, August 30, 2012.
To learn more about how to take action after a Tennessee car crash, please visit ourmotor vehicle accidents page.