Wrongful death is a legal term that means that a death was caused by the fault of another person. Wrongful death can unfortunately occur to all types of victims, and has one particular category of victims. Those at work, such as local authorities, can also be victims of others negligence while in their line of work.
New York State Trooper was recently killed as a result of a collision with a semi-truck, according to The Leader-Herald. On December 16th, a tractor-trailer crashed into the back of a police car, killing the officer. The accident occurred on Interstate 90; the officer was sitting inside his car after previously pulling over another car. While sitting in his car, the semi-truck hit him and pushed the car 50 yards into an embankment. The officer was thrown from his car upon the impact. Then, the semi hit the car that the officer had pulled over, pushing it 75 yards and stopped on top of the car. Investigations are currently underway to determine the cause of the accident, such as negligence, since neither alcohol nor weather are considered factors in the crash.
According to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, motor vehicle accidents are a serious cause of police officer deaths. From 2003 – 2012, 457 police officers died in automobile crashes, and 138 died as a result of being struck by a vehicle. NPR also reports that car accidents are among the most significant causes of police deaths. In fact, traffic fatalities for police officers have been on the rise since the late 1990s. Traffic congestion and an increase in distracted drivers have been factors in this increase. With increased traffic and less attention to the road, many drivers do not notice police officers at work and do not slow down when they are present.
Under the Illinois Vehicle Code, Illinois has a law commonly known as the “Move Over” Law, and formerly called “Scott’s Law.” This law requires drivers to move over to the next lane if there is an emergency vehicle (such as a police car or ambulance) stopped with its lights flashing. This law has actually been in effect in Illinois for over a decade, since 2002. The purpose of this law is to protect officers and other workers during their work and while they serve others in emergency. Failure to reduce your speed and to move over when seeing emergency vehicles on the roadside is a violation of the law and can result in penalties. If found guilty, you can be fined a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $10,000. If your violation caused damage to a vehicle or personal injury to an emergency responder, your driving privileges will be suspended between 90 days to 2 years.
Our firm understands the gravity of wrongful death accidents, and empathizes with the family of those innocent victims from whom their lives have been taken. From past experience, our Chicago attorneys have the knowledge to hold those legally accountable whose negligence and recklessness causes wrongful death accidents. By helping the families of the deceased obtained compensation, we hope to deter future wrongful death accidents. If you have a family member who has died as the result of someone else’s negligence on the road, we welcome you to contact us for a free consultation.