Recent reports regarding the Maryland police officer who died in a car crash last month revealed that he had alcohol in his system at the time of the accident. A prominent news source has reported that the officer was killed when he was taking his girlfriend to her home in the early hours of the morning.
Evidently, the officer was off duty, but he was attempting to stop a speeding vehicle. He was speeding when he came around a curve in Lanham, Maryland. Unfortunately, he was not able to control his vehicle, and he ended up hitting a wooden fence.
Investigations revealed that the officer had a blood alcohol level of about .07; the legal limit is .08 in Maryland. Additionally, he was driving around 106 mph and slowed to about 65 mph right before the accident. Although the officer was off duty, they believe that he was going to call in a traffic stop because he switched his radio on. Apparently, a new investigation has also made clear that the officer’s girlfriend was in the car with him at the time of the accident. Fortunately, she did not suffer any serious injuries.
Although the police force is not condoning the officer’s drinking and driving, they still believe that he was killed in the line of duty because he was pursuing a speeding vehicle. The police force is now reviewing their policies regarding pursuits and restrictions on off-duty cops performing official duties.
Maryland Causes of Action in Drunken Driving Cases
Although it is tragic that the officer was killed in this incident, it is very fortunate that no one else was hurt. When individuals are speeding and under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the likelihood of an accident involving multiple victims is great. In a situation such as the one above, the passenger of the drunk driver may be able to bring a negligence claim against the driver if they were injured and suffered damages.
In many situations, drunk driving is viewed under a negligence per se theory. This essentially means that because there is a law that specifically prohibits the unlawful act that the defendant participated in, the defendant will automatically be found to have breached their standard duty of care. This means that an accident victim in a negligence per se case does not have to establish the first two elements of a negligence case, as long as they suffered the type of harm the statute is meant to protect against. In the case of drunk driving, that is clearly injuries related to traffic accidents.
In cases where the driver was not over the legal limit, it may be more difficult to succeed on a negligence per se theory. It is important that plaintiffs consult with an experienced attorney to discuss their case.
Have You Been Injured as a Result of a Drunk Driver?
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed because of a DUI accident, it is highly recommended that you speak with an attorney to determine your rights and potential remedies. You may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries. This compensation can cover things such as past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and in some circumstances pain and suffering. Contact one of the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen at 410-654-3600 to schedule your free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Maryland Appellate Court Considers the Cap on Judgments Against Municipalities, Maryland Accident Law Blog, January 16, 2015.
Court Dismisses Accident Victim’s Case Based on Lack of Expert Witness Testimony, Maryland Accident Law Blog, February 23, 2015.