Who Is Liable For Auto Accidents Caused By Police Chases?

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If you are in a car accident resulting from a high speed police chase, you should receive compensation for damages to your vehicle and any injuries that may have occurred.

If your vehicle is struck by a law enforcement vehicle that is pursuit of a suspect, it is obvious that liability for compensation is with the law enforcement agency for which the officer serves.

However, you may still be eligible for compensation from the law enforcement agency if you are struck by the culprit that was being pursued. You need to prove the the law enforcement officer was negligent in initiating or continuing a high speed pursuit that placed civilians in danger.

How can you receive compensation if a fleeing suspect hits your vehicle?

This type of case requires the help of a personal injury attorney that specializes in auto accidents related to law enforcement activity.

Your lawyer will need to prove that you sustained damages or injuries because of the choices made by the law enforcement officer in chasing the suspect.

Liability could also lie with orders given by superiors that may have sanctioned the chase, and the policy of the local government on conducting high speed car chases in areas that pose risks to civilians.

Why would law enforcement be liable in civil court for performing their duty?

Criminal court cases determine whether a law has been broken, and the alleged perpetrator is assumed innocent until proven guilty. In a civil court, liability is determined by proving negligence whether a law has been broken or not.

It is clear that a law enforcement officer is operating within the law when they pursue an alleged criminal, but is it the right choice under any circumstances?

The pursuit of a suspect through crowded city streets or at dangerous speeds on highways is understandable if the culprit is known to be an immediate danger to society at large. However, chasing a car thief or a suspect that flees from a traffic stop poses unnecessary risks to the public.

How can an auto accident attorney win compensation from the local government?

Your attorney (like those at Loughlin Fitzgerald P C) will need to research the case to determine if the officer made the decision to pursue on their own or if they requested and received  permission from a superior. Local government policy concerning police chases will also be researched to determine if the chase conformed to current policy. 

If other viable choices were available to any of these parties, and they instead made or supported the choice to pursue, they can be found liable for the accident that occurred.

This type of case can not only deliver just compensation for the victim, but can also help to shape future policy in evaluating when to pursue a fleeing suspect, and training for the officers who must often make an immediate decision that can place the public in needless danger