Law enforcement officers have one of the more dangerous jobs in the United States. Every day, they face an increased risk of being shot, stabbed or attacked by those whom they approach. But one danger that is often forgotten is that of the average citizen driving to his or her destination. Whether intoxicated, distracted or just plain reckless, citizens have unintentionally injured and killed scores of officers who were just doing their jobs. The issue has grown to such magnitude that many states have created new, harsher laws and penalties designed specifically for people who are involved in such incidents.
Early Sunday morning, a Missouri state trooper was rushed to the hospital in serious condition after being struck by a car while making a routine traffic stop. The car accident occurred while the trooper was on the side of the highway talking to the occupants of the car whom he had pulled over. While the investigation into the crash is ongoing, what is known is that a man driving a Volkswagen hit the trooper’s car, pushing it into the car that he had pulled over. The driver of the Volkswagen, who was charged with two counts of assault second degree and driving while intoxicated, was airlifted to the nearest hospital; his condition remains unknown.
Drivers who are responsible for an accident may find themselves defendants in a civil suit, in addition to the criminal charges that may result from this type of auto accident. Since Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state, a party can recover damages even if he or she is found to be partially responsible for his or her own injuries. Taken to its furthest point, this means that a party can recover even if he or she is found to be 99 percent at fault for the accident.
Unsafe drivers can make an already dangerous job more dangerous just by taking to the roads. Choosing to be a safer driver is not only the smart thing to do, but it may just save a life.
Source: Fox 2 St. Louis, “Missouri State Trooper struck and seriously injured on I-55,” George Sells, May 25, 2014