A dangerous situation can occur when two people engage in a heated, emotional argument while driving on a highway. The necessity of safe driving can become nearly impossible when one or both of the arguing parties loses all emotional control. This happened recently in Knox County when a domestic dispute between two people started a chain of events leading to an accident, followed by a second car crash that injured three Knox County deputies and a Tennessee state trooper.
The incidents started at about 2 a.m. on I75 when a 20-year-old man caused a car crash by grabbing the wheel from his 22-year-old wife who was operating the vehicle. The car crashed, and the husband ran from the scene. Knox County Sheriff's deputies were on the scene to investigate along with members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The man was reportedly later found and arrested on criminal charges.
While the authorities were conducting an investigation at the scene of the accident, a second crash occurred when an alleged drunk driver hit a stopped Knox County vehicle, causing a chain reaction that injured the three deputies and the trooper. The driver, who was also injured, was charged with DUI and other offenses. It is questionable whether the injured officers can collect damages from the first car that crashed on I75, due to the extenuated chain of events.
However, they can collect damages from the second driver because his negligence was a direct and substantial cause of their injuries. One complication, however, is that the injured officers must first collect medical expenses and any lost wages through the Tennessee workers' compensation laws because they suffered a work-related injury. Because workers' compensation does not provide for pain and suffering, however, the officers will most likely be able to collect those additional damages from the second driver. If that driver was underinsured or uninsured for that car crash, then the insurance on the patrol cars owned by the county and the state will likely be next in line to pay under their uninsured and underinsured motorists insurance coverage.
Source: wbir.com, "Man charged with DUI after crash injured 3 deputies, 1 trooper", Oct. 17, 2015