Wrong-Way Driver Slams Into Police Recruits

Wrong-Way Driver Slams Into Police Recruits

November 18, 2022

Although one official described the incident as “a horrible accident,” a 22-year-old man is in jail facing charges of attempted murder of a police officer.

Twenty-five of the seventy-five recruits were seriously injured. At least one is in the hospital on a ventilator, according to officials. The group was mostly Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department recruits, but also included others from nearby police departments, including Pasadena and Glendale.

“It is hard to see, because these young people are getting ready to go put themselves in the line of danger in their career. And who knows that while you’re training to do that you are actually in harm’s way,” Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Sheila Kelliher remarked at a news conference. “So my heart goes out to all of them as they pursue this career. I hope that they all have speedy recoveries.”

Intentional Wrecks

Very few car crashes are intentional torts, which basically means a malicious injury. Aggressive driving, like speeding, and impaired driving, like driving under the influence of a substance, cause most car crashes. More on that below.

The above wreck may be an exception. There’s some evidence that the driver sped up before he struck the recruits. The car’s EDR (event data recorder) often provides conclusive evidence in such situations. These onboard computers measure and record items like vehicle speed and engine RPM.

If the driver accelerated, that could indicate intent. An intentional tort in California basically has three elements:

  • Action,
  • With intent,
  • That caused injury.

Acceleration could also indicate recklessness, which is a higher form of negligence. Basically, if a driver was reckless, s/he wasnt’t watching the road and didn’t care who was on it. 

These are all civil court issues for a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. Civil courts compensate victims. Criminal courts punish offenders. These actions are usually different.

Unintentional Wrecks

As mentioned, aggressive driving and/or operator impairment causes almost all the car wrecks in California. 

Once again, “unintentional” basically means “non-malicious.” People don’t accidentally drive on the wrong side of the road and plow into a large group of pedestrians. Most negligence actions have four prongs:

  • Duty: Most drivers have a duty of reasonable care. This duty, which requires motorists to be at their best when they get behind the wheel and always drive defensively, is based on the story of the Good Samaritan.
  • Breach: As mentioned, most car wrecks aren’t “accidents.” People accidentally leave the water running. They don’t accidentally tailgate or drive under the influence of alcohol. Such behavior, or rather misbehavior, is a breach of the duty of care.
  • Cause: This element is a legal and factual bridge between the breach and the damages. Legal cause basically means foreseeability. If a wife of an injured recruit crashed on her way to the hospital, that’s not a foreseeable injury. Factual cause essentially means substantial cause. Bad weather might contribute to a wreck, but negligence causes it.
  • Damages: Generally, a victim must sustain a tangible personal injury, or damage to property, to obtain compensation. Sometimes, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney can obtain compensation for purely emotional injuries, under a theory like a bystander claim or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The burden of proof, a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), is the same in intentional and unintentional torts.

Compensation is usually the same as well. Most intentional and unintentional tort victims are entitled to compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. Lawyers can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance.

Credit: Photo by "Markus Spiske" on Unsplash

Sharona Hakim

Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq. is a successful personal injury attorney and the principal of the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim firm in Beverly Hills, California.

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