Police officers often initiate high-speed vehicle pursuits to bring in criminals and suspects. However, they can be a safety risk to the public. Police chases can result in substantial collateral damage, such as bodily injuries and extensive property damage to those harmed by the chase. Sometimes, police chases lead to the death of innocent bystanders.
Despite the dangers of police pursuits, law enforcement agencies continue to permit them when they believe the benefits outweigh the risk to public safety. If you were an unfortunate victim of a police chase, you have the legal right to seek compensation from those liable. You can consult a San Antonio accidents caused by police chase lawyer from Ben Crump Law, PLLC, to understand how you can move forward with the case. Reach out at (844)-638-1822 to speak with a team member.
Police Officers Might Have Liability in Pursuit-Related Accidents
In Texas, cities and counties have implemented different policies for police pursuits. The San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) has put in place a procedure for vehicle pursuits that attempts to balance its law enforcement responsibilities with the knowledge that “officers must do so in a manner reasonable and commensurate to the circumstances of each situation.”
Simply because the accident happened in the line of duty does not mean a police officer has no liability for the harm caused by the chase. As the policy outlines, officers still owe a duty of care to other motorists, pedestrians, and road users. When they act recklessly or carelessly during the police pursuit, they can injure people and damage property.
The Texas Tort Claims Act offers relief to victims injured due to negligent actions of the government, its agencies, and employees. Under §101.021, police officers found liable for injuries and property damage have no sovereign or governmental immunity in situations where the proximate cause was “the wrongful act or omission or the negligence of an employee acting within his scope of employment … (that) arises from the operation or use of a motor-driven vehicle…”
However, this statute does not guarantee that your injury claim against the police will be actionable—the agency that employs the officer will investigate the incident and notify you whether it accepts or denies your claim. To bolster your chances of recovery, you might want to retain a San Antonio accidents caused by police chase lawyer.
For a free legal consultation with a police chase accidents lawyer serving San Antonio, call 800-959-1444
Pursuing a Claim Against the Government
Many accident victims of high-speed police car chases hesitate to bring a claim against the government, thinking it will not amount to anything. If you suffered injuries or property damage from a pursuit, you have the legal right to seek compensation from those liable.
Your first step is to file a claim with the correct public entity or agency. For accidents caused by a San Antonio police officer, you will pursue compensation from the city government. The Bexar County sheriff’s office and Texas Department of Public Safety would handle claims against their officers—you can visit their websites to check requirements and procedures.
You must also be aware of time limits for filing claims. The statute of limitations against the government is significantly shorter than the two years allowed for personal injury lawsuits against private individuals authorized by Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003.
Under the Tort Claims Act, injury victims have six months from the time of the accident under §101.101 to submit their request for relief; otherwise, they can no longer recover damages. However, some cities may shorten the time frame further. For example, the City of San Antonio allows only 90 days to file.
You could avoid the costly mistake of missing out on crucial deadlines if you work with a San Antonio accidents caused by police chase lawyer. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today to get started.
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Limits on Potential Damages
While Texas allows liability claims under the Tort Claims Act, it also limits how much a victim can receive as compensation from government entities. Capping damage awards prevents excessively high amounts without sufficient justification. Generally, compensation will cover incurred expenses for what you have experienced because of a police officer’s reckless conduct. For an accurate estimate of the monetary payout, a San Antonio accidents caused by police chase lawyer could help you compute your total damages.
The award limits depend on the liable government or public entity. Suppose officers of the San Antonio Police Department struck your vehicle during the car chase. Per § 101.023(c) of the Tort Claims Act, the city could only offer damages of up to:
- $250,000 per person
- $500,000 for each single occurrence of bodily injury or death
- $100,000 for damaged property
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How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you decide to pursue a claim against the police department, prepare yourself to clear higher hurdles—rules are stricter to minimize or deter bad claims. A single oversight or ill-advised action can lead to your claim’s rejection.
You must prove that the high-speed pursuit led to an accident that caused your injuries. Remember that not every injury makes for an actionable claim—you must show the link between the crash and your damages. Causation and damages are two essential elements that your case should have to allow financial recovery.
Proving all the elements of your claim can become challenging, especially if you lack the experience and knowledge. You might benefit from working with an attorney who specializes in handling police chase accident cases.
A San Antonio accidents caused by police chase lawyer from Ben Crump Law, PLLC, will evaluate your claim to determine its merits and investigate, research, and collect evidence to build a strong case. We can also negotiate with the government’s claims adjusters for a settlement that fully covers your medical bills, lost income, repair bills, and pain and suffering.
To get started, call our team today at (844)-638-1822 for a free case evaluation.
Call or text 800-959-1444 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form