Suspected Drunk Driver Arrested After Crashing Into Police Car
An unnamed motorist crashed into a stopped police car in South Los Angeles on August 5, injuring two LAPD officers in the process. The driver was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving following the crash. The officers had stopped their vehicle for a routine traffic stop on Gage Avenue between Main Street and Broadway at around 1 a.m. Their vehicle was struck by another vehicle from behind and shoved into the car they had pulled over. Both officers were injured in the accident, but did not go to the hospital.
Can Police Officers Injured By Drunk Drivers File Lawsuits?
Attorney commentator Brian Kent of CrimeVictim.Attorney offers some thoughts on the legal options for police injured by drunk drivers:
When a police officer gets injured or killed on duty, determining liability can be complicated. Police work is inherently dangerous and officers understand that they will face a certain amount of risk during their job duties. Nearly every state has laws which prohibit police officers and firemen for suing when negligence caused the situation that they’re responding to. For instance, if someone caused a fire through negligence and an officer responding to that emergency gets injured, they would likely not have grounds for a lawsuit.
However, in California, this rule does not apply to cases where the hazard was caused by negligence unrelated to their job duties at the time of the accident. So for example, if a police officer pulls someone over for speeding and another drunk motorist strikes them from behind, it’s possible that the officer could have grounds for a lawsuit against the driver, and in some cases, the alcohol vendor that continued to serve that driver after they’d become visibly drunk.
Establishing liability in a drunk driving case is always complicated, and even more so in cases involving police injuries. Officers and families who have been affected by drunk driving accidents should consider speaking with a crime victim lawyer in order to fully understand their legal options.