In community policing, law enforcement officers get tasked with the important job of protecting and defending their assigned communities from harm. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) lists “empathy,” “multi-tasking,” and “integrity” as qualities that police officers need to serve their community adequately. Of course, the best way for officers to grow and develop these attributes is to gain real-life experience in law enforcement. On a national level, there is no single standard for police force training. However, in recent decades, federal and state laws provide clear limits for the civil liabilities of police officers in the event of an accident.
Even when police officers believe they have acted in the interest of public safety, it does not undo the harm from injuries and losses others suffer due to their negligence. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a police chase accident, you might need help from an attorney to protect and defend your rights in civil litigation. The lawyers at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, represent victims of car accidents caused by law enforcement officers’ negligent behavior. Call our offices today at (800) 657-1881 to request more information about working with a Kansas City accidents caused by police chase lawyer.
About Police Pursuits in Missouri
According to the Washington Post, at least 30 people have died since 2016 due to a maneuver used by some police departments around the country called precision immobilization technique (PIT). Unfortunately, the true extent of the issue surrounding accidents caused by police chases remains unknown because the federal government doesn’t require the nation’s 18,000-plus police department to report these crashes.
When police officers are on duty, they carry a basic duty of care, just like other civilians. So, if a police officer must consider a high-speed pursuit, that officer must consider a few public safety factors before engaging with a criminal suspect.
The Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) details its policy regarding police pursuits and high-speed chases. Concerning police pursuits, the procedural instruction clearly lists the following requirements:
- Officers will not pursue a suspect for traffic infractions or driving under the influence unless they were involved in a “dangerous felony” or presented a danger to others on the road.
- They cannot pursue suspects going the wrong way on a road unless the suspect “is fleeing to avoid a felony arrest.”
- The policy prohibits the use of roadblocks, push-bumpers, and tactical vehicle intervention (called PIT in the Washington Post article).
Missouri officer guidelines highlight the importance of driving with due regard, which means that officers must consider the following safety factors before engaging in a pursuit:
- Urgency: Police officers should not engage in pursuits for nonviolent crimes.
- Driving conditions: Bad weather, dangerous roads, and other external factors could pose a threat to public safety.
- Visibility: Nighttime driving or driving during bad weather can cause poor visibility behind the wheel.
- Traffic conditions: Officers should not interrupt traffic flow in a police pursuit unless absolutely necessary.
- Zoning: Police generally cannot engage in a pursuit within a school zone, high traffic area, or residential area.
Missouri Revised Statutes §544.157 establishes minimum guidelines for police and sheriff’s departments regarding vehicular pursuits, but each locality’s rules can be extremely complicated. Knowing when to initiate a pursuit is a fundamental part of police force training. When police officers demonstrate negligent behavior, they might violate their department’s procedure and state law, potentially making them liable for injuries caused in a crash resulting from a high-speed chase.
For a free legal consultation with a police chase accidents lawyer serving Kansas City, call (800) 657-1881
Discussing Legal Options for Accident Victims
Naturally, victims of police chase accidents could feel completely overwhelmed about what to do when seeking compensation for injuries and losses. Fortunately, personal injury lawyers can navigate the complicated litigation surrounding negligent actions by police officers.
When police officers become involved in a pursuit, any failure to follow Missouri state requirements, police department procedure, or general negligence law can make them liable for the injuries you suffered.
Potential legal options include the following:
- Missouri at-fault insurance claims: One of the most viable places for accident victims to seek compensation is from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. This may apply to either criminals involved in the vehicle pursuit or the police department. Missouri is an at-fault insurance state, so victims can generally hold the driver who causes the accident financially responsible for compensatory damages.
- Restitution: Victims affected by the actions of someone convicted of criminal charges could receive restitution payments from the guilty party. The judge determines the amount of any award as part of setting the defendant’s sentence. However, there is no guarantee that the judge will order any amount of restitution nor timeliness for getting money to you when you need it most.
- Filing against the police department: In some instances where a police officer breaks department or state policies for vehicle pursuits, accident victims can file claims against the police department or officer. Typically, you must follow a claims procedure established by the government agency for restitution.
Keep in mind that Missouri Revised Statutes §537.600 allows lawsuits against police departments related to “negligent acts or omissions…arising out of the operation of motor vehicles or motorized vehicles within the course of their employment.” However, unlike the five-year statute of limitations set by Missouri Revised Statutes §516.120 for personal injury suits against private citizens, the Missouri Tort Claims Act typically limits you to 90 days to file a claim against a government agency.
Ultimately, a Kansas City accidents caused by police chase lawyer can provide legal counsel and advice throughout the process so that you can focus on your recovery. In cases where an officer has undoubtedly engaged in misconduct, the police department might settle for an agreed amount of compensatory damages. The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can negotiate with liable parties to reach a monetary settlement or fight to defend your rights in court. Call us today to get started on your case.
Kansas City Police Chase Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 657-1881
Put Your Recovery Needs First
Police chase accident victims should not need to worry about holding liable parties responsible for their injuries. With the help of a Kansas City accidents caused by police chase lawyer, victims can seek fair compensation for all their recovery needs, including awards for medical bills, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.
The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, understands how intimidating the entire litigation process can feel. Our team stands ready to listen to your needs and relieve the stress of taking legal action. Call us today at (800) 657-1881 for a free case review.