Police officers have to make difficult decisions every day, often in a split second. These decisions can ultimately affect many other lives, including innocent civilians. When a criminal suspect makes the dangerous decision to flee from law enforcement, police officers must make the decision whether or not to follow in pursuit of the suspect.
As a result, the police officers must weigh the risks between the danger of allowing a potentially dangerous criminal to escape versus the risk of endangering innocent civilians as they make the pursuit of that suspect. If you suffered any injuries or losses as a result of a police chase as an innocent bystander or motorist, learn how a Charlotte accidents caused by police chase lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 598-7557 can help you understand your legal options.
Law Enforcement Pursuit of Criminal Suspects
The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) research indicates that law enforcement officers often have to make a difficult decision regarding whether or not to pursue a suspect or let them go. This decision can place the public at risk either way.
However, if law enforcement makes the determination that it remains in the best interest of the public to pursue a suspect that is potentially dangerous to the public, then they should have appropriate safety measures in place with respect to their police pursuit. Failure to do so could result in serious injuries or fatalities as law enforcement attempts to pursue a criminal suspect.
For a free legal consultation with a police chase lawyer serving Charlotte, call (800) 598-7557
Injuries Resulting from Police Chases
At that moment, when a police officer must make the decision to pursue a criminal suspect, they must weigh an incredible amount of information in a split second. If a police officer does make the decision to pursue a suspect, it is likely due to the fact that they genuinely believe that the suspect committed an illegal activity.
As a result, the suspect may even be “armed and dangerous.” The pursuit of such a suspect could lead to innocent civilians receiving injuries, including:
- Gunshot wounds
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken or fractured bones
- Internal organ damage or bleeding
- Nerve damage
- Psychological trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
While every police chase has different facts and circumstances, if you suffered any injuries or losses as a result of a police chase, you may have the legal right to pursue compensation.
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Filing a Claim Against the Charlotte Police Department
According to the City of Charlotte, any complaint against the police department may occur either through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department website, the U.S. mail, in-person complaints, by telephone, email, through the City of Charlotte’s website, or even anonymously.
Additionally, complaints can be even delivered to the Community Relations Committee. There are 42 Rules of Conduct that police officers must abide by, which have differing levels of seriousness.
Serious allegations receive a full investigation through an Internal Affairs division and receive adjudication through an Independent Chain of Command with supervisors who do not work directly with the police officer in question. Once a determination occurs regarding the police officer’s conduct, decisions occur regarding any disciplinary process. Citizens have the legal right to appeal the decision within 30 days.
If there is an appeal, it will ultimately go to the Citizens Review Board, composed of 11 members. After evidence and testimony occur, the Citizens Review Board will then make determinations regarding the outcome.
The entire process can prove challenging and complex, and having legal representation can help you understand your legal rights and help answer questions you may have. If you can prove through this complaint process that police were negligent in their behavior, you could recover compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Having a Charlotte accidents caused by police chase lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help ensure you receive adequate representation during this entire process and ensure that your legal rights remain protected.
Consider These Questions Regarding Your Police Chase Claim
Every case involving injuries and losses as a result of a police chase will have different facts and circumstances. Consider the following questions as you begin to build your police chase claim:
- Did the suspect place any innocent lives in danger through their original actions that led to the police chase?
- Did the suspect allegedly commit a serious or dangerous act, or simply fail to stop a stop sign or violate a minor traffic law?
- Did the suspect place any innocent lives in danger as they attempted to make their escape? (i.e., brandishing weapons or shooting civilians?)
- Did law enforcement follow their own established internal procedures regarding when to chase a suspect?
- Did law enforcement fail to follow the chain of command orders regarding the police chase?
- Did law enforcement use unnecessary or excessive force during the police chase at any time?
- Did law enforcement discharge or fire any weapons during the course of the police chase with nearby motorists or innocent bystanders present?
- Did the police chase result in any innocent bystanders or motorists receiving injuries or fatalities?
It is critical to remember that police officers do have the right to pursue persons that are somehow suspected of committing criminal activity. Law enforcement has a great deal of discretion to perform their jobs in order to keep the public safe from dangerous criminals. However, police officers do have to weigh their decision to pursue a suspect with the danger it may cause to innocent bystanders or motorists.
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Consider How a Charlotte Accidents Caused by Police Chase Lawyer Can Help You
As indicated above, any attempt to file a claim against a governmental entity such as a police officer or police department can prove legally complex and challenging without proper guidance and representation. If you suffered injuries resulting from a police chase, consider how an accidents caused by police chase lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 598-7557 can help you with your next steps.