In the United States, accountability is an essential aspect of law enforcement—especially for police officers serving communities in San Diego. Police officers are required to develop a sense of empathy, integrity, and quick thinking when doing their jobs. In particular, American police officers are considered heroic do-gooders who can balance decision making and fair application of the law in complicated situations. For these reasons, American citizens do not always know how to counteract police negligence when it happens.
Documents from the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) list the value of human life as the highest priority for on-duty officers. For victims of police chase accidents, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by a police chase, a San Diego accidents caused by police chase lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC is available to protect and defend your rights. Call our offices today to speak with a member of our team about your legal needs at (800) 657-1881.
Police Pursuit Guidelines in San Diego
The nature of policing is stressful. Normally, police develop skills to adequately navigate some of humanity’s most sensitive challenges through years of training. Only within the past 20 years did legislative measures provide uniform guidelines and accountability measures for the potentially dangerous consequences of forceful police response. Generally, the goal for every officer is to be able to handle stressful situations like pursuits with calm and calculated choices, while keeping public health and safety at the forefront.
In applying force, such as initiating a chase or pursuit, there are legal parameters that can both protect officers and hold them liable for resulting damages. While filing a lawsuit against a negligent police officer might seem like an impossible thing to do, lawyers work tirelessly to represent clients before government agencies for these case types. Police should be informed on what situations require them to apply force in response to a threat, and what limitations they have despite their job.
Safety Considerations in Police Pursuits
According to the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), officers are trained to use a “Balance Test” to weigh the risks and rewards of a vehicle pursuit. Pursuits are characterized by officers attempting to stop an evasive criminal suspect who drives away at a high speed, makes sudden turns, or otherwise fails to yield to officers. This leaves police with a high burden of risk management, which is important in evaluating the officer’s suspected negligence.
Police officers are responsible for considering the following:
- The threat to public safety
- The extent of the suspected criminal activity at hand
- The risk to themselves and other officers on duty, as well as those accompanying the officers
- Bystanders and other normal traffic conditions
- Current weather and driving conditions
- Availability of supervisor and officer support
- Familiarity with the pursuit location
- Connectivity to police radio systems
The list of above factors is not exhaustive of the risks police must assess before initiating a pursuit. The considerations above illustrate just a few of the nuances of community policing that officers need to consider. Negligent police officers do not appropriately apply things like the Balance Test to weigh the consequences of a vehicle pursuit. Instead, they may make a snap judgment, failing to protect potential victims.
If you were involved in a police chase accident, a San Diego accidents caused by police chase lawyer from Ben Crump, PLLC can help.
For a free legal consultation with a police chase accidents lawyer serving San Diego, call (800) 657-1881
Legal Advice for Police Chase Accident Victims
Examining your unique case will be necessary for a lawyer to formulate and initiate a legal claim on your behalf. Handling something as complicated as human perception in the face of a threat can be daunting, so allowing a lawyer to analyze your case can simplify things.
A lawyer can work to build a negligence claim for victims of police chase accidents. This includes precisely explaining how the police officer failed to evaluate and understand what a reasonable use of force entails. Lawyers can help you form a realistic idea of what to expect from your case in a timely manner, which is important for most legal endeavors. In California, victims of accidents from a police chase will generally have a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the accident, or the date from when the injury was first discovered, according to Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1. However, your unique circumstances may vary. You can work with a lawyer from the start to ensure that the case filing requirements are met, in addition to filing a strong case.
Accident Victims Can Hold Police Accountable
A lawsuit against a San Diego police officer would seek compensation for your injuries or other compensable damages. In some cases, victims can seek punitive damages for other pain and suffering, but the exact details will depend on the individual case.
While police are protected from civil court liability in some pursuit cases, they can be held accountable for damages when a pursuit was not carried out properly. For example, if an officer fails to evaluate the risk factors completely, or lacks proper support from fellow officers, there could be a larger liability issue at stake.
In any case, victims of these types of accidents should not have to suffer. The Washington Post reports that the exact number of police chase accident victims remains unknown since there is no federal government requirement for police departments to report them. Knowing this, it is important to hold police accountable in reckless driving accidents that can occur from police vehicle pursuits.
San Diego Police Chase Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 657-1881
Police Accident Victims: Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC
Working to hold police accountable for legal violations could be the battle of a lifetime, but it can be a seamless process with a lawyer’s help. As an accident victim, you may be entitled to compensatory damages that ease the burden of recovery from the reckless actions of others.
Contact the offices of Ben Crump Law, PLLC where a San Diego accidents caused by police chase lawyer can work directly with you to settle your case fairly, and get you back on the road to recovery. Call (800) 657-1881 now for a free, no-obligation consultation.