Lawsuit Filed against City of Atlanta for Accident Allegedly Caused by Police Officer
Law enforcement vehicles with lights and the siren engaged pose a significant risk to other motorists and pedestrians in Georgia when exceeding the speed limit, disregarding traffic signals and ignoring stop signs. While it may seem reasonable to presume that police officers have been adequately trained to engage in these high speed responses safely, a recent fatal tragedy suggests that this is not always the case.
A lawsuit has been filed against the dity of Atlanta by a woman injured in a fatal three-car collision allegedly caused by a recent graduate of the police academy according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to the complaint in the lawsuit filed by the plaintiff, the fatal accident occurred when the officer sped through an intersection against a red light. The police officer slammed into a car, resulting in an occupant's death. The fatality victim's vehicle was propelled into another vehicle driven by the plaintiff in the personal injury lawsuit, who suffered a debilitating cervical injury according to documents filed in the lawsuit.
While law enforcement officers have some level of immunity when they respond to an emergency with lights and siren, they are not completely insulated from liability when their conduct is not reasonable under the circumstances; lights and/or siren are not engaged; or no emergency exists to justify the disregard of traffic safety laws and prudent driving practices.
The complaint filed in the personal injury lawsuit involving the T-bone intersection multi-car collision indicates that the emergency no longer existed when the collision occurred. The officer was responding to what was originally referred to as an "emergency suicide call." However, the lawsuit alleges that more than half an hour had passed since the call and that the situation had been downgraded to a situation that was no longer considered a life-threatening emergency.
Actions taken by the police and district attorney following the collision suggest that the officer's conduct was negligent. He was fired two days following the collision and now faces formal criminal charges of second-degree vehicular homicide. The city of Atlanta is being sued because the accident allegedly occurred when the officer was functioning within the scope of his employment.
When public employees cause car accidents that result in back injuries, including ruptured disks, spinal cord injuries or other serious injuries, there are special rules that apply because government employees and agencies may have some degree of governmental immunity. Car accident lawsuits against government entities for the negligence of public employees have shorter time deadlines and special notice requirements that must be complied with to avoid losing your right to make a claim, so it is important to promptly seek immediate legal advice if you have been injured or a loved one has died in a collision involving a public employee.
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