Every year, police officers cause hundreds of accidents in Memphis and throughout the state of Tennessee. According to data supplied by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, in 2011 alone, four people were killed and another 637 were injured in crashes involving police officers.
Some of these car wrecks happen because drivers aren’t looking out for emergency vehicles or listening for sirens. However, in a fair percentage of accidents, the officers are the ones at fault. In some cases, the officer is driving too fast for conditions or pursuing a suspect unsafely. In others, a crash might happen when an officer darts out from a semi-hidden location in order to catch a speeder. Sometimes, ordinary negligence is involved – just the same as you would see in any other Tennessee car accident.
In Tennessee, all officers get driving training when they go through the police academy. In addition, they are required to take driving classes every year as part of their ongoing Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission requirements. Still, too many don’t implement this training when they encounter dangerous driving situations.
That yearly requirement is relatively new. It was imposed in 2005 after a fatal accident in which college student was killed by a police officer who ran through a red light with his emergency lights on but his siren silent.
People who are injured in accidents with Tennessee police officers have a right to seek damages in a civil lawsuit. However, because the government is usually a defendant in these cases, they are handled slightly differently than traditional Tennessee car accidents. Therefore, it is important to choose an attorney who has experience bringing claims against police officers.