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Pennsylvania firefighters put their lives on the line everyday to protect and serve others. While a fatal accident may not seem all that uncommon in their line of work, it certainly isn’t expected to happen at the carelessness of other drivers. Recently a fire chief was involved in a fatal accident when a drunk driver struck him as he was directing traffic.

The fire chief was working an accident and had the lights activated on his vehicle as he was directing traffic around the scene. During that time, a 32-year-old man attempted to go around his vehicle and hit the fire chief. The man was arrested and charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence. He was denied bail. The fire chief was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

An accident such as this will not only be felt within the chief’s family but within his service family as well. Firemen consider themselves brothers and this will no doubt touch many lives and many different fire halls within Pennsylvania and nationwide. This man’s family is now facing emotional trauma as well as financial stress. While the family is likely entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits, a separate cause of action for wrongful death is appropriate against negligent third parties, in this instance the allegedly drunk driver.

Any Pennsylvania resident that has lost a loved one as a result of a fatal accident might benefit from looking into their rights under the corresponding state laws to determine if a wrongful death suit is appropriate. If negligent conduct is established, the family may be entitled to reimbursement of monetary damages such as pain and suffering and — where reckless conduct has been proved — possibly even punitive damages. While monetary compensation certainly can’t bring back their loved one, it can help protect their financial resources.

Source: abc27.com, “Police: Pa. chief killed while directing traffic,” April 29, 2013