Protecting Police Officers from Road Accidents
In the aftermath of heavy winter weather like we had in the 2013-2014 season, officials and others often look at different kinds of accident rates that had to do with the challenges of inclement weather. Some of these are relatively minor, while others have a much greater impact on individuals and their families.
One essential statistic covered by local media involved those studying Virginia’s winter storm scenario, where three state police officers were struck by vehicles in the course of road controls one wintry morning.
Police Worker Injuries
The report, which illuminates the frequency of these kinds of collisions, stated that only one of the three officers struck sustained serious injuries, but a wider look at this phenomenon nationwide shows that many of these officers are severely injured in these kinds of accidents.
In response to this considerable roadside hazard, some safeguards have been put in place. For instance, there’s an awareness campaign to alert drivers pull into a left lane, if possible, when encountering a police stop on a busy highway. Many police officers are also trained to approach a vehicle from the side away from the road. However, the logistical problem of parking beside high-velocity traffic lanes means this kind of injury will continue to be a concern for many local police departments.
In Virginia, moving to the far lane to avoid stopped emergency vehicles is not just a good idea, it’s the law. Va. Code sec. 46.2-921.1 requires drivers to yield the right-of-way or reduce speed when approaching stationary emergency vehicles on highways. Failure to do so can have consequences as a traffic infraction or, in some cases, may have criminal ramifications.
Virginia state troopers and police officers who have been injured by a passing motorist will likely have a personal injury claim against the motorist who failed to yield. The injuries sustained by law enforcement and emergency personnel in these situations can range from minor to catastrophic, and it is important for police officers to retain experienced counsel to assist with a claim that may arise while lawfully stopped on a highway.
Getting Legal Help in Virginia
Law enforcement and other emergency first responders provide a vital and invaluable role to all Virginia citizens. Drivers on Virginia’s roads owe these civic employees the utmost respect when on Virginia’s busy highways not just because the individuals deserve it, but because it is the law for drivers to yield to these individuals performing their jobs.
If you are a police officer who has been injured on the job by a negligent driver who did not yield or slow while you were stopped for your duties, you may have a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. The Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. can help. Call Robert E. Byrne, Jr. at (434) 817-3100 to get more details about how to build this type of case, and how our lawyers will work hard to help you exercise your rights under the law.