Everyone in Louisiana knows that being a police officer can be a dangerous job. Every time an officer puts on a uniform and goes to work, he or she takes on a risk of being injured or killed. Most news stories about police officers being killed are when they are on the job. However, off-duty police officers are perhaps just as likely to be the victim of an accident, even a fatal accident, as the rest of the drivers on the road.
An off-duty Rosepine, Louisiana, police officer was killed in a traffic accident earlier this month. The officer was preparing to make a right-hand turn when another vehicle rear-ended him, causing the officer’s car to overturn. The officer wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. He was taken to Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria, where he later died despite the efforts of medical personnel to save his life. The driver of the vehicle that collided with the officer was also not wearing a seat belt but did not suffer any injuries as a result of the accident.
As part of their initial investigation, Louisiana authorities have cited the driver for following too closely. The accident is still under investigation, and toxicology samples were also taken to determine whether impairment was a factor in the accident. Whether any further citations or charges will be filed remains to be seen.
In the meantime, the family of the officer is left to grieve their loss. At some point, the family may wish to assess whether they want to file a wrongful death action against the driver. Making that determination involves several factors, and the family may gain from seeking advice from a personal injury attorney regarding their decision. Although it is true that nothing can bring back a loved one who has died in a fatal accident, the family may often gain some sense of justice from civil action. There are also financial considerations when a loved one dies, such as medical and funeral expenses, based on proof of negligence by another party in the accident.