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State Trooper Suspended After Fatal Crash

A Boston state trooper has been suspended without pay indefinitely, after having been charged with killing both a mother and daughter last month in a head-on car crash in Plymouth. John Basler, 25, also injured himself in the crash, reports the Boston Herald.

The accident occurred on the night of September 22. Basler was also charged with operating a vehicle under the influence (OUI), and his license has been suspended.

What other legal concerns might be raised from this incident? Here are some possibilities:

  • Negligence per se. Because the trooper was allegedly driving drunk and therefore could be found guilty of a crime, there may be negligence per se. Negligence per se is an act that is considered inherently negligent or negligent by default because it violates a statute or regulation that was meant to protect against the harm that resulted. In this case, DUI (or OUI -- operating under the influence) laws in Massachusetts are clearly meant to protect against the harm of someone being killed in an automobile accident.
  • Wrongful death. The victims' families may likely file a wrongful death claim. When someone dies or is killed as a result of the negligence or misconduct of another, the surviving members of the victim's family may sue for wrongful death. Wrongful death suits allow victims' loved ones to recover for things such as loss of income, loss of parental guidance, or loss of intimacy.
  • Respondeat superior. Basler was driving off-duty, but the state may be involved if he was using a state vehicle. In order to determine whether Basler's employer was liable under the theory of respondeat superior, several questions need to be addressed. First off, was Basler driving the car in the scope of his employment? If he was, there may be an issue of liability on the state's part to be addressed.

If you have questions about liability for a car accident or about wrongful death, make sure to contact a local experienced attorney who can answer them for you.

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