According to an investigative report by the Sun Sentinel, at least 21 people in Florida have been seriously injured or killed by speeding police vehicles since 2004. In some cases, the speeds do not seem justified. In 2008, 20-year-old Erskin Bell Jr. was left severely brain damaged when a police car rear-ended his vehicle at 104 mph. A subsequent investigation showed that the police officer behind the wheel, Mark Maupin, was not responding to a call and was not taking part in a pursuit when he lost control of his police car. Maupin had a history of accidents and speeding violations on the job, but after the Bell accident the only punishment he received was to lose his license for 90 days. Maupin was also injured in the crash.
According to the Sun Sentinel investigation, seemingly unnecessary speeding is one of the most disturbing trends when it comes to Florida car accidents involving police cars: in most of the 21 cases involving a serious car accident with a police car, the officers involved were responding to a routine call or were simply driving too fast. In most cases, they were not speeding due to an urgent situation. The investigation also found that police officers involved in these 21 accidents tended to face low criminal sentences, ranging from no jail time to no more than 60 days in jail, even when the car accidents they caused were fatal.
The problem of speeding police cars also causes a heavy toll for police officers. Of the people killed by police cars between 2004 and 2011, seven were police officers. In some cases, their vehicles were traveling as much as 61 mph above the posted speed limit at the time of the accident. Obviously, the Sun Sentinel report is disturbing, as many of these accidents that lead to serious accidents appear to be highly preventable.
There is no doubt that law enforcement personnel do a terrific job in keeping communities safe. They work tirelessly to uphold the law and help individuals. In many cases, they risk their lives for others. In some situations, police officers and other emergency vehicles do need to speed. If they are chasing someone who is dangerous or trying to get to a life-threatening situation, speed of course can save lives. And emergency responders do get special training to ensure that they do get to emergency situations quickly in order to save lives.
At the same time, when families lose loved ones due to the situation described by the Sun Sentinel, these types of losses can be devastating and angering. These accidents can cause serious injuries, including Fort Lauderdale brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and fatalities. In many cases, victims who have been injured by emergency responders face tremendous challenges when it comes to recovering compensation for injuries and other costs. Community governments and their employees are protected and have teams of experienced attorneys working for them. If you have been injured in a Fort Lauderdale car accident, it is important to speak with a qualified Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney who can defend your rights and can seek compensation for your injuries, so that you do not have to bear the burden of medical costs and other expenses yourself.
If you need a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney, or would just like to discuss your situation with an attorney to see whether you have a case, contact the Flaxman Law Group to arrange for a free consultation.