Drunk drivers are an unacceptable hazard, and law enforcement officers have a duty to apprehend drivers who appear to be impaired. However, officers also have a duty to protect the safety of civilians. The family of Ashley Browder believes that this duty was breached on the night of February 10, 2013, and they are suing the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) in the wrongful death of their daughter.
Browder and her sister were crossing an intersection on a green light when a speeding police car ran its red light and hit their vehicle. The other driver, off-duty police officer Sergeant Adam Casaus, was allegedly pursuing a drunken driver. Browder's sister sustained a broken hip and spinal injuries. Unfortunately, Browder was killed. She was 21 years old and a member of the Air National Guard. Casaus is facing criminal charges and has been fired from the APD. The Broward family has also initiated a wrongful death lawsuit against the APD, claiming that officials did not do enough to prevent this kind of dangerous behavior.
A wrongful death claim must be able to demonstrate the following:
- The party was aware of a potential danger or hazard.
- The party neglected to take appropriate action to avoid the hazardous situation.
- This negligence resulted in an avoidable fatality.
In this case, the Broward family is holding the APD responsible for failing to implement standard safe operating procedures. But wrongful death claims can be brought not only against a negligent individual but also against institutions, businesses or companies that neglect to safeguard the public.
If you have questions about filing a wrongful death claim after losing a family member, speak with one of our qualified New Mexico personal injury lawyers.