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St. Charles sheriff's office at center of car accident lawsuit

Some car collisions in which Louisiana residents are involved are straightforward, making it easy to identify a path to recovery for the damages and injuries sustained in the collision. Other times, car accidents can involve a number of parties and be extremely complicated.

A car accident that happened last August and involved a St. Charles Parish sheriff's deputy falls into this latter category. It is still under investigation and an end does not appear in sight for those affected by the incident.

A police officer was traveling 90 miles per hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone. He allegedly did not have his sirens or lights on until just before the collision occurred. Ultimately, he slammed into another vehicle making a left turn that was driven by a man with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit and then crashed into another vehicle in oncoming traffic. The incident left the police officer dead and those in the other two vehicles injured.

Now, the man who was in the third vehicle and suffered critical injuries is suing the sheriff's office. The lawsuit alleges that the police officer was not responding to an emergency situation and that the man sustained several injuries, including the need for a hip replacement.

It is unclear how the other driver's blood alcohol level will play into the lawsuit. The sheriff's office may claim that the drunk driver is also negligent in attempts to deflect some or all liability for the man's injuries.

There are a number of ways to introduce the liability of another party in a lawsuit. The plaintiff may decide to name the other party as a co-defendant in hopes of apportioning liability between the different parties. Alternatively, a defendant may file a cross-claim against another defendant, arguing that the new party is responsible for any liability that the original defendant faces under theories of indemnity or contribution, due to the new party's responsibility for causing the accident.

There can be benefits to naming more than one defendant in a lawsuit. A plaintiff may be able to improve his odds of recovery and resolve all of his or her losses from the car accident.

Source: The St. Charles Herald-Guide, "Report: Deputy killed in Luling crash was traveling 90 mph, activated emergency lights right before impact," Kyle Barnett, Jan. 18, 2014

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