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Multi-million dollar ruling for Maryland car crash victim

An officer with the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the Department of Public Safety was recently issued a multi-million dollar fine for his involvement in a 2008 car accident which seriously injured a Maryland woman.

According to witness reports, the officer swerved his car into the oncoming lane, where he collided with the plaintiff's vehicle. As a result of the accident, the victim fractured her foot, left hip, and pelvic area, and later underwent surgery on both knees. This story, as reported by the Washington Examiner made no mention regarding any physical injuries suffered by the defendant.

The officer's attorney claims that his client does not remember how the accident occurred. According to his statement, the defendant was running personal errands and driving in heavy traffic when something, potentially slow cars on the road ahead, caused the officer to swerve out of his lane.

One of the interesting elements of this case is that, at the time of the accident, the officer in question was driving a county-owned vehicle. In light of this fact, the plaintiff attempted to file an additional suit against the county, citing their role in the accident as the official vehicle owners.

However, a judge dismissed this suit since the officer was not actually on duty when he struck the plaintiff's car, and was in fact in violation of police rules for driving the car outside the county without proper authorization.

Since her suit against the county failed, the plaintiff is dependent on the officer to come up with enough funds to pay the settlement. If the defendant is forced to declare bankruptcy, the victim's compensation is likely to decrease dramatically, potentially falling to a mere sixth of the current amount.

Source: The Examiner. "P.G. police officer hit with $3 million verdict for crash in county-leased car." Alex Pappas. 06 February 2011.

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