Pierce County has agreed to pay $1.65M to the family of Dale Neel, who died of injuries he sustained when he was hit by a patrol car driven by Deputy Jason Smith in September 2011.
Neel was driving his moped when he was hit by a patrol car that was responding to a call with lights and siren’s activated. Neel was attempting to make a left hand turn but then attempted to pull to the curb when he saw the approaching patrol car. Unfortunately, the patrol car moved into Neel’s lane and hit him. Neel died later at a local hospital.
In filing a wrongful death lawsuit, Neel’s family contended that Smith was “negligent and reckless” in driving the patrol car. The attorney representing Neel’s family discovered that Smith had five previous accidents on his record. In the lawsuit, the family maintained that Smith was also driving above the speed limit at the time of the accident.
Police officers have an obligation to drive safely at all times even when they are responding to a crime, responding to an emergency or pursing someone. Nationally, approximately 300 people a year are killed during police pursuits. Often, innocent bystanders or pedestrians are killed and other times other motor vehicle accidents are involved.
Traffic signals, laws and other safety measures are in place to prevent Washington motor vehicle accidents as well as serious injuries and deaths. The rules also apply to police officer driving in the scope of their employment.
Washington state has a wrongful death lawsuit which allows families of those whose loved ones were wrongly killed due to the negligence of another to seek compensation on behalf of their deceased loved one.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We have more than 30 years experience representing families with their wrongful death claims.
Tacoma News Tribune: Pierce County to pay family of man killed after being hit by patrol car $1.65M