Recovering damages in a personal injury or wrongful death suit will rest on determining who is at-fault for the accident. Three people filed a wrongful death suit claiming that an on-duty officer was responsible for their Louisiana mother’s death.

The officer was heading toward the scene of a burglary when he was notified that the intruders had escaped. He then turned off his siren and lights and turned the vehicle around. The accident occurred shortly thereafter when he collided with the woman’s vehicle, killing her. The officer suffered multiple lacerations and a broken leg.

The woman’s children filed a wrongful death suit against the officer, the Sheriff’s Office and the agency’s insurer. The suit alleges that the officer was speeding and grossly negligent at the time of the accident. The suit also mentions that, while officers can exceed speed limits in emergencies, this officer turned off his lights and siren, indicating there was no emergency.

However, the Sheriff’s Office has claimed that the woman’s careless driving is what caused the accident. The Office states that she disregarded a stop sign, failed to yield the right of way and was speeding.

Both parties and their experts were permitted to inspect both vehicles and the Sheriff’s Office agreed to save any and all materials relevant to the accident, including radio communication recordings. If the suit is successful, the woman’s children will likely receive compensatory damages for their pain and suffering, funeral expenses and other costs.

Source: The New Orleans Advocate, “Woman’s careless driving caused fatal crash with Jefferson deputy, Sheriff’s Office says,” Ramon Antonio Vargas, Sep. 23, 2016