Rear-End Car Accident Involving Sheriff’s Patrol Vehicle Results in Baby Dying and Mother Suffering Critical Injuries
On Saturday December 14, 2019 just shortly after 10:30 p.m., a San Joaquin County sheriff’s patrol vehicle was involved in a fatal accident near on the Interstate 5 Stockton. A woman’s red sedan was rear-ended by the sheriff’s vehicle. The woman sustained critical injuries. Her son, an infant riding in the car, sustained fatal injuries.
The collision caused both vehicles involved to fall off an embankment. Surveillance video shows the woman’s vehicle coming to a stop on the freeway shortly before it was struck by the patrol vehicle. The woman’s vehicle was pushed off the freeway, and the sheriff’s vehicle followed. It is unclear why the sheriff’s vehicle crashed into the red sedan. It is also unclear why the red sedan stopped on the freeway.
The deputy involved in the incident took the infant out of the mangled sedan and began performing CPR. Good Samaritans rushed to the scene to extricate the woman and also began CPR. Upon the arrival of medics, the infant was transported via helicopter to a local children’s hospital; unfortunately, the infant was later pronounced deceased. The woman and the deputy involved in the incident both sustained injuries which are still unspecified; they were both transported to local hospitals. The deputy was treated and later released. The woman, however, was listed in critical condition as of Sunday – there has been no update regarding her condition.
According to the California Highway Patrol, drugs or alcohol are not believed to be a factor in the collision. The incident remains under investigation.
Without a doubt, the family of the young boy and his mother are devastated. The life of the baby was cut short, and it is uncertain whether the young mother will survive her injuries – although she continues to fight for her life.
It is important that the family of the deceased infant and the critically injured mother to know that they can possibly pursue a claim. If you or a member of your family were involved in an incident similar to the traumatic incident mentioned above, you should explore the possibility of filing a claim for the harm suffered.
Could you sue the police? Could you and your family be compensated? Depending on the details surrounding the incident, sheriff’s department (or similar entities) could be liable for the accident and all the harm suffered, meaning that victims and surviving family members could likely sue.
For more information about the right to take any sort of legal action after an accident involving the police, including the sheriff’s department or even the highway patrol, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with the experts at Downtown L.A. Law Group at your earliest convenience.
Downtown L.A. Law Group is a personal injury law firm with many years of experience handling all sorts of claims, including auto accident claims. In many cases, public entities directly contribute to auto accidents, resulting in harm to innocent victims. At our firm, we are not afraid to hold liable parties accountable for the harm that they negligently caused – regardless of whether they are highly-regarded public agencies. When you allow our experts to handle your claim against the police or sheriff’s department, you can be certain that our experts are ready to aggressively fight for your rights and help you and your family to recover the compensation that you deserve.
Typical Liability in Auto Accidents
Liability is based on negligence, which consists of duty of care, breach of duty, cause, and harm. All drivers owe others on the road, including other drivers, a duty of care – to drive safely to prevent any harm. When drivers speed, tailgate, or exercise other recklessness, they are breaching their duty of care and can directly cause an accident. Accidents can result in harm. When a breached duty of care (any sort of recklessness while driving) directly leads to harm, the party that breached the duty of care could be found negligent and liable of all the harm suffered.
What does this mean? The party that caused the accident will likely be liable, meaning that the victim (or the victim’s family) could sue the liable party for damages.
Slip and fall Accident
Police Liability in Auto Accidents
In auto accidents involving civilians, liability is generally straightforward. However, when the authorities are involved there could be some exceptions to liability. In California, there is something called an “emergency vehicle exemption,” meaning that emergency vehicles are exempt from traffic laws in some situations.
Typically, emergency vehicles are only exempt from traffic laws when responding to an emergency call given that the vehicle’s sirens and lights are being used. To be exempt from traffic laws, officers/deputies must be operating an (authorized) emergency vehicle, responding to an emergency, and sounding the sirens as well as flashing the lights. What classifies as an emergency? Emergencies include responding to emergency calls, being involved in rescue operations, or pursuing a suspect (car chase), for example.
Regardless of these exceptions and parties being allowed to essentially ignore traffic laws in some circumstances, they still owe a duty of care towards others on the road. This means that even if the emergency vehicle is exempt from following traffic laws during an emergency, the driver of the vehicle still has to use reasonable care.
Who is liable in an auto accident involving an officer or a deputy? According to California Vehicle Code 17001, “A public entity is liable for death or injury to person or property…caused by a negligent or wrongful act…in the operation of any motor vehicle by an employee of the public entity acting within the scope of his employment.” This means that liability for accidents will be transferred from the officer or deputy behind the wheel of the vehicle to the employer – the public entity.
Your Right to Sue and Receive Compensation
Whether you were involved in an accident with a police officer or a sheriff’s deputy, for example, you might have grounds to pursue a claim against the appropriate department. If you file a claim, you could also be eligible to recover compensation. Depending on the details surrounding your claim, you could be compensated for all or some of the following: medical expenses; lost income; pain and suffering; property damage; punitive damages. If you are filing for the death of a member of your family, you might also be eligible to recover compensation for the following: funeral and burial costs; loss of consortium; loss of earnings/financial support.
Your right to recover compensation after a car accident will strictly depend on the details surrounding your claim. If you would like to learn more about the type and amount of compensation that you could be eligible to receive if your claim reaches a successful outcome, do not hesitate to contact our law firm today. Our lawyers will help you understand the potential value of your claim.
When you allow the experts at our firm to handle your claim, you can be certain that there will always be someone aggressively fighting for your right to recover the highest amount of compensation available for recovery. Our lawyers will aggressively negotiate a fair settlement or take your claim to trial for a fair verdict – regardless, you can trust that they will do everything within their reach to ensure that you are rightfully compensated. To learn more about the type and amount of compensation that you could recover, contact our firm today.
Filing Your Claim On Time
Without a doubt, you have the right to sue for the harm that you or a member of your family suffered in a car accident. However, you could lose the right to take any legal action (and recover compensation) if you fail to file your claim within the appropriate length of time. All claims are subject to a statute of limitations – or deadline to sue – that ensures that claims are filed promptly. Typically, auto accident claims in California are subject to a two-year statute of limitations, meaning that claimants only have two years to file their claims.
However, the two-year deadline does not apply to any claims against government entities (or public entities) such as police departments or sheriff’s departments, for example. Claims against government entities are subject to a strict 6-month statute of limitations. If claims are not filed within the 6-month period after the incident occurred, the right to sue could be lost.
To ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the deadline that applies to your claim and that you file your claim on time, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. You can trust the experts at our firm to provide you with all the information that you need to pursue your claim and reach a successful outcome.
What Should You Do?
After any accident, there are a number of things that should be done to prepare to file a claim. These steps include the following:
- Take photos of the scene of the accident
- Take photos of all injuries suffered
- Gather the names and contact information of all parties involved in the accident (including badge numbers and identification numbers on vehicles)
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Speak to any witnesses
- File an incident report
- Seek legal assistance immediately
Without a doubt, the thought of pursuing a claim is not the first thing that victims and their families think about after an accident – especially if the authorities are directly involved in the accident. However, following the steps above could allow you and your family to take action and hold the liable parties accountable. Often, failing to follow the recommended steps listed above could result in difficulties during the legal process.
If you simply do not know what to do next, you should seek legal assistance immediately. Our lawyers can guide you every step of the way.
Seek Legal Assistance Today
Without a doubt, auto accidents can be devastating. These accidents can be even more devastating when they are caused by the people who are supposed to be protecting the community. If you or a member of your family suffered any type of harm as a direct result of the negligence of a deputy, officer, or any public entity, it is essential that you seek legal assistance with the experts at our law firm at your earliest convenience. At Downtown L.A. Law Group, our experts have many years of experience handling all sorts of claims, including auto accident claims. It doesn’t matter who caused your accident, you can trust that our lawyers will do everything within their reach to help hold the liable party or entity accountable for the harm that you suffered. If you are ready to discuss your claim with our auto accident experts, contact us immediately.
At Downtown L.A. Law Group, we are dedicated to helping victims and their families to take legal action and recover the compensation to which they are entitled. Unfortunately, many parties with grounds to pursue claims never do so because of the fear associated with unknown legal expenses. To ensure that everyone has access to the legal assistance that they need, our firm offers free legal services, which include free consultations and free second opinions. During our free consultations and free second opinions, our auto accident attorneys will be available to answer all your questions, address all your concerns, and do everything within their reach to provide you ad your family with all the information necessary to start or continue your claim. If you would like to benefit from our free legal services, contact us immediately.
Our free legal services are available as part of our Zero-Fee guarantee, which ensures that our clients will never be required to pay any upfront legal expenses. Our law firm is also based on a strict contingency structure, meaning that our clients will never be required to pay anything until after reaching a successful claim outcome. What if you don’t win your claim? You simply will not have to pay anything.
If you are ready to discuss your claim with the experts at our law firm, contact us at your earliest convenience.