It shouldn’t come as any real surprise to hear that police officers and first responders and other emergency personnel face a great deal of risk when carrying out their offical duties along our state’s roadways. Whether curbside in urban areas like Annapolis, Bowie or Washington, D.C., or on the roadside along a stretch of the Beltway, approaching vehicles of all types can pose a serious hazard to patrolmen, firefighters and tow truck drivers. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my colleagues represent clients from every walk of life who have been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident.
One of the more stark differences between the occupants of passenger cars and police officers doing their job, is that a patrolman places himself in danger on an almost constant basis. Drivers and passengers riding in sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks, and even city buses, don’t usually face the same potential for injury as public safety officers, though they can be hurt just as seriously in a traffic wreck.
A while back, one of Baltimore’s finest was badly injured when she was apparently pushed over the edge of an overpass during a car crash between a moving vehicle and another stationary one she was standing near. At the time of the accident that took place, along a portion of Interstate 83, Officer Teresa Rigby was helping a stranded motorist last year in June. Based on news reports at the time, the officer was out of her patrol car when she was thrown over the edge of the roadway wall, causing her to fall 20 feet to the pavement below.
Now it appears that the officer has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the 23-year-old driver who caused the crash on June 21, 2011. As part of that lawsuit, Officer Rigby also named the owner of the vehicle, who she alleges loaned his vehicle to a driver who he knew to be on a suspended license.
According to court records, the suit names Lawrence Archambeault, whose residential address matched that of the driver, Robert Vanderford, as having supplied the vehicle to the driver even though Archambeault alledgedly knew that the man had prior traffic violations, not to mention a currently suspended driver’s license at the time. The suit refers to Vanderford as an “agent/servant/employee” of Archambeault, which could legally make him responsible, in part, for the man’s actions on the day of that traffic accident.
Officer Rigby, according to news reports, was seeking $15 million in damages resulting from that crash. She was, at the time of the collision, standing at the shoulder of the roadway, on the northbound side, about half past nine in the morning. After assisting the driver of the disabled vehicle and while the tow truck driver was hooking up the vehicle, Rigby began walking back to her cruiser when a Saab driven by Vanderford apparently went out of control and struck the officer’s patrol car. The force of the crash sent Rigby over a concrete barrier and down nearly two stories below.
Following her fall, the victim was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Listed in critical condition following the incident, the woman was suffering from broken bones in her face, leg and pelvis. The suit covers the cost of surgeries Rigby had to endure following the car crash, as well as other medical expenses, potential future expenses, and also other damages, such as possible lost wages and medical care in the future.
Police vehicle struck in one of multiple I-83 accidents, BaltimoreSun.com, May 21, 2012