In a rare decision, a Tennessee county opted to settle a lawsuit for $150,000 for the damages caused by an on-duty officer. The personal injury lawsuit was filed after a woman and a passenger in her vehicle suffered injuries that required medical treatment when her car was struck by the deputy. The original suit was filed for an estimated $900,000.
An attorney for the county stated that this was the first time he remembers the county admitting liability in an accident. However, the dash camera video showed clear evidence that the deputy made no effort to avoid the accident in the moments before impact. According to the case, the 59-year-old woman left the parking lot of a local restaurant and pulled into the travel lane. The deputy, who was purportedly exceeding the posted limit by an estimated 60-65 mph, was approaching from the rear.
As the deputy's cruiser, which was in the middle lane, drifted partially into the far right lane, the front of the service car struck the rear of the woman's vehicle. Her car was forced off the roadway and subsequently collided with a traffic sign. The crash rendered the woman's car inoperable. Both she and one of two juvenile passengers required care for their undisclosed injuries.
Tennessee officials investigated the crash and determined that the officer was negligent in his operation of his vehicle. It was further determined that the deputy's fatigue contributed to the wreck. The deputy was on active duty at the time of the crash and has since been reassigned as a school resource officer. Though the personal injury suit was settled for significantly less than the victims originally sought, they were compensated for their damages. Any time victims suffer injuries or sustain significant property damages due to the negligence of another party, they are likewise entitled to seek recompense through the civil courts.