Police officers are meant to keep our roadways safe, responding to motor vehicle accidents rather than causing them. Unfortunately, a speeding police car occasionally can cause more harm than good, resulting in serious car accidents causing personal injuries and, in the worst-case scenarios, even fatalities.
In 2010, one such fatal car accident occurred in Los Angeles when an LAPD cruiser hit another vehicle. The 27-year-old driver was pulling out of her driveway, when the police car broadsided her car. The woman was killed.
Reportedly, the speed limit in the area was 35 mph; however, the cruiser was traveling at two times the posted limit. Further, witnesses reported that the police car was not using its headlights or sirens. In fact, the squad car was not responding to an emergency call at the time.
The family of the woman killed in the crash filed a wrongful death suit against the city of Los Angeles. Recently, the Los Angeles City Council agreed to a settlement of $6.6 million for the woman's family, representing the largest settlement ever reported following an LAPD accident.
In the wake of the settlement, a city council member stated, "Reducing the risk of exposure to terrible traffic accidents is really important for the city. They're having a tremendous impact on the budget."
According to the Los Angeles Times, during the past decade, the city has paid approximately $30 million to settle around 400 lawsuits resulting from LAPD motor vehicle accidents.
For family members who have lost a loved one in a car accident, it is often difficult to know how to proceed thereafter. Consulting with an experienced personal injury is the first step in ensuring their rights are protected.
Source: KPCC, "LA agrees to $6.6 million payout in police car crash that killed woman," Frank Stoltze, June 29, 2012.