Four Wheeler Wreck...

by Wendi
(Wrightsville, GA)

My 6 year old son was hurt in a 4 wheeler wreck with his father driving. His father didn't have any injuries. The cop that worked the accident scene didn't question him at the time of the accident because his stepbrother, who was a city councilman at the time, asked the cop not to (because you could smell the alcohol on him).

This wreck happened in town in Wrightsville, GA (Johnson county). Can I file a lawsuit against the city for the officer not doing his job? Can I pursue my son's father for compensation for his medical bills?

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ANSWER for "Four Wheeler Wreck...":

Wendi (Wrightsville, GA):

You can certainly pursue a claim for your son's personal injuries and resultant medical costs against the boy's father. You won't be so lucky pursuing a claim against the city or the police officer.

The police officer is protected by "sovereign immunity". Sovereign immunity is a legal term which affords legal protection to police officers in the performance of their duties, or in your case, the "non-performance" of the officer's duties.

There is an exception to the sovereign immunity afforded police officers. To meet that exception the police officer's actions must approach being reprehensible, also referred to as "Reckless Disregard for the Law". In your son's case the police officer's actions don't approach the legal level necessary to "pierce" sovereign immunity.

You have an easier option. If you have some sort of proof of the intoxication of the driver and the link between the city commissioner and the police officer, you can go to the police station and file a complaint against the officer in the Internal Affairs Bureau. If you do, an investigation will be initiated.

There is no guarantee your complainant will result in the action you would like, but if you don't at least try, you will never know.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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