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Suffolk County to Pay Out $1.5 Million in Wrongful Death Claim

Suffolk County will pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a teenager who died nearly 10 years ago in a crash involving two police officers.

On March 12, 2008, the 17-year-old girl, Teaisha Scales, was reportedly riding in a 1998 Cadillac DeVille, driven by her boyfriend. The sedan crashed into a utility pole located on John’s Neck Road, close to Fairview Drive in Mastic Beach. According to her boyfriend, who was 22 at the time, a police cruiser was chasing him and slammed into the rear of his vehicle, which caused him to lose control and slam into the pole.

The officers underwent depositions after the accident and said they had been following the sedan for about a mile because it appeared to be speeding and had gone through stop signs. They denied there had been a pursuit and said they arrived after the crash occurred.

The girl initially survived the accident, but then passed away six days later from injuries to her neck, lungs and heart. The family originally filed the lawsuit in 2009, claiming the officers were reckless and negligent while chasing the vehicle. The settlement came two weeks before a jury trial was set to begin.

Liability in police-involved car accidents

Because police officers are typically employed by local governments, the municipality that employs them is at least partially liable when an officer’s negligence leads to an injury or death. Because the officers in this case worked for the Suffolk County Police Department, the county was on the hook for paying the $1.5 million settlement.

To learn more about moving forward with a personal injury claim after a serious accident, consult an experienced Long Island attorney with Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.