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Texas Personal Injury News

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Who is to Blame for Inmate’s Suicide after Questionable Traffic Stop?

 

Can I file a claim for damages as a result of my loved one’s death while in police custody or prison?

The current state of heightened tension and violence between members of the public and police officers across America has brought an increased level of stress to both parties involved in a routine traffic stop. Dash-cam footage and amateur videos shared on social media and news outlets bring police officers’ often split-second decisions into question and invite debate on issues including overreaching, profiling, and appropriateness of the use of force.

When a traffic stop goes awry, injuries or death to the public (or the police officer) may result immediately or subsequent to the arrest. What is considered justifiable cause for a traffic stop and proper use of force or restraint during one?  What is the proper standard of care and supervision of prisoners during their incarceration?

These questions are raised in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the mother of a woman whose traffic stop in July, 2015, for failing to signal a lane change led to her incarceration and apparent suicide by hanging in her Waller County Jail cell three days after her traffic stop.

The mother alleges that the public safety officer, who ordered the woman out of the car and claimed she was combative, overreached his authority during the questionable traffic stop and arrest. Further, she claims her daughter died as a result of negligence by jail personnel. Much of the arrest was caught on the dash-cam video. The public safety officer is also charged with misdemeanor perjury. Recently, this case was remanded to a mediator for settlement discussion.

Wrongful death claims may arise when one person is liable for the death of another and are usually brought by surviving relatives of the deceased in a civil action. While this doesn’t bring the loved one back, it allows the victim's family compensation for their losses, which may include financial support, medical or funeral expenses, and loss of consortium. Because of the complex and deeply emotional nature of wrongful death cases, it is essential for family members to engage the services of compassionate experts in this field of law.

Chandler, Mathis & Zivley has offices in Houston and Lufkin, Texas and serves clients throughout Texas as well as many other states. With over 40 years of experience, we’ll fight to get you restitution after the terrible trauma of losing a loved one to wrongful death. If you have questions as to the circumstances that led to a tragic or unexpected loss of a loved one, contact us online or call us in our Lufkin office at 800-657-2230 or our Houston office at 877-739-7744.


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Chandler, Mathis & Zivley, PC has offices located in Houston and Lufkin Texas and serves clients throughout East Texas as well as many other states.
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