When police engage in vehicle chases, it is often innocent drivers who get hurt. Officers must weigh apprehending a suspect against the possibility of harming other drivers and bystanders when they choose to pursue a suspected criminal.
Police chases often involve high-speed, dangerous driving by both law enforcement and the driver being pursued. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 1996 to 2015, an average of one person per day was killed in pursuit-related crashes.
A report by USA Today found that more than 5,000 bystanders and passengers died because of police chases since 1979. Most of these innocent victims were killed in their own vehicle after being hit by a fleeing driver.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car crash caused by a police chase, you may be able to seek compensation. A Los Angeles accidents caused by police chase lawyer can help you determine who is liable for your accident and identify damages to which you may be entitled. For more information, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-959-1444.
It is important for police to consider the injuries and damages a chase may cause innocent motorists and pedestrians, as well as the suspect. They must weigh the risks of a chase against the nature of the suspect’s offense, and also consider if there are safer ways to apprehend the suspect. If they decide to give chase, they must also be able to judge when to end pursuit.
When an accident happens because of a police chase, the law does not necessarily exempt the law enforcement officer from any and all responsibility. California Vehicle Code 17000 states a public entity may be liable for injury, death, or property damage if the officer acted wrongfully or with negligence.
Under Vehicle Code 21055, emergency personnel are protected from civil action if they are driving an official vehicle, responding to an emergency, or have the vehicle’s lights and sirens on. However, the law still expects the officer to drive with a reasonable duty of care, even when giving chase.
Depending on the specifics of your accident, the liable party may be the suspect being chased. The suspect may face criminal charges, as well as civil action for pursuit-related crashes. Just like law enforcement officers, they owe other drivers a duty of care, and are responsible for their reckless driving.
California follows a model of pure comparative negligence, meaning that even if you were 99 percent responsible for your police chase accident, you may still seek compensation. Any settlement you may receive will be reduced by your amount of fault. You are also required to notify the police after an accident.
An Attorney Can Identify the Liable Party or Parties
In car chase accident cases, an attorney can help determine who was responsible for your accident, and untangle the specifics that led to pursuit. A Los Angeles accidents caused by police chase lawyer can help prove the responsible party acted recklessly or committed wrongdoing, resulting in your injuries. To learn more, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC.
For a free legal consultation with a police chase accidents lawyer serving Los Angeles, call 800-959-1444
Damages You May Recover
Seeking compensation after a police chase accident may seem complicated, especially if one of the parties involved is a law enforcement agency. An attorney may be able to help you seek awards for:
- Medical bills. Medical treatment can become costly, and you should not have to shoulder the costs alone if your accident was not your fault. You may be able to recover costs for emergency department visits, hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, follow-up care, and more.
- Property damage. You may be able to seek awards to cover the costs of damage done to your vehicle or any other personal property harmed in the crash.
- Lost wages. If injuries from your accident caused you to miss work, you may be able to recover lost wages. If your injuries prevent you from returning to your job, you may be entitled to future lost wages or permanent disability payments.
- Pain and suffering. You may be compensated for severe physical pain, as well as emotional trauma, stress, anxiety, and loss of enjoyment of life. If your accident left you with permanent scars, disfigurement, or loss of a limb, you may be able to seek compensation.
- Wrongful death. If your loved one passed away in a police chase accident, you may be able to seek compensation on their behalf. You may also pursue awards for your pain and suffering, loss of support, and loss of companionship.
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Statutes of Limitations
If you plan to seek compensation, you need to be aware of the statute of limitations for bringing civil action for personal injury, wrongful death, or damaged property. California allows two years to file suit for injury or death, and three years for the recovery of personal property.
The time limit on the statute begins at the time of injury or death, or at the time your property was damaged. If the statute of limitations expires, you may not be able to recover compensation.
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Ben Crump Law, PLLC Can Help
Just because your injury happened during a police chase does not mean those involved cannot be held responsible.
Police need to give pause before chasing a suspect. The risk of injury and death to innocent drivers must be weighed against the crimes committed. Drivers involved in a chase can be held responsible for reckless driving, even if they were acting in the line of duty.
Our legal team can help gather evidence to support your case, determine liability, and prove negligence. We can help gather medical records, official documents, video surveillance, eyewitness testimony, and more to support your claims. We will not back down from even the toughest cases.
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Let Us Handle Your Case from Start to Finish
We are here to help you every step of the way so that you can focus on your recovery. Your accident was not your fault, and you should not have to bear the responsibility alone.
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC we never collect a fee unless we win your case. To learn more about how a Los Angeles accidents caused by police chase lawyer can work for you, call Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-959-1444 for a risk-free consultation.
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