In New York and all other jurisdictions, when a driver loses control of his or her vehicle, it is usually due to negligence. This means that the operator failed to use that degree of due care required under the circumstances. When the operator’s negligence is a material factor in causing a car accident that results in serious injury or death, then the driver will likely be liable to compensate the victim or his/her estate for damages sustained.
Those principles do not change if the operator and the victim are both off-duty New York Police Department law enforcement officers. In a recent one-car accident in Pelham Bay, police reported that the driver of Dodge Durango lost control and ran off the roadway near City Island Road and Park Drive. The driver was a 32-year-old male who was an off-duty NYPD officer.
He was badly injured and rushed to a nearby hospital with leg injuries and burns. By a strange twist of fate, he was pulled from the burning wreck by a group of individuals who were also off-duty NYPD members. They had been traveling by the accident by apparent coincidence.
The man’s passenger, who died in the accident, was a 27-year female rookie off-duty officer, also with the NYPD. After leaving the roadway, the SUV flipped and burst into flames, while trapping the decedent inside of it. Her badly burned body was later uncovered in the rubble.
Police have not indicated whether there is a suspicion of impairment by the driver in this car accident, or even whether blood was drawn for testing. In this instance, the claim for damages may be made on behalf of the decedent by her estate, generally consisting of her next of kin. In New York, a serious claim like this one requires the experience and in-depth knowledge of a seasoned personal injury attorney.
Source: New York Post, “Off-duty rookie cop was killed in fiery crash“, Tina Moore and Linda Massarella, Feb. 2, 2017