Police pursuits are an essential part of law enforcement work, with the explicit intention of bringing fleeing suspects into custody. However, these pursuits often lead to injuries and property damage, especially high-speed ones. The Los Angeles Times reports that police chase accidents in San Jose and other large California cities are not uncommon.
Even with pursuit policies in place, high-speed collisions and other accidents remain inevitable, posing a continued safety risk to motorists, passengers, and pedestrians. If you were injured as collateral damage, turn to a San Jose accidents caused by police chase lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC. We can help you seek compensation for your losses and fight for the justice you deserve. Call our team today at (800) 598-7557 for a free consultation.
Establishing Liability During a Police Chase
The standard protocols for pursuing a suspect differ for every city police department. For instance, the San Jose Police Department only chases drivers who pose an immediate threat to public safety or are suspected of violent felonies. Before they can initiate a pursuit, police officers must weigh several factors to justify the risks of a high-speed chase. However, that does not mean they have no liability for any accidents that result.
Whether they are law enforcement officers or not, all drivers owe a duty of care to fellow motorists, passengers, pedestrians, and others sharing the road. Breaching this duty by disobeying or disregarding traffic rules can be grounds for compensating others who sustained injuries or had their property destroyed. Negligence is the underlying legal theory used to establish fault for the accident—in other words, if a police officer acted negligently or recklessly, they should be responsible for any pursuit-related damages.
Sorting out liability in high-speed police pursuits is best left to a San Jose accidents caused by police chase lawyer. A legal professional well-versed in this aspect of the law can evaluate the details of the accident to determine who should be held accountable for compensating the injured victims, whether it be the officer themselves, the police department, or both. The suspect may be held liable as well—if they had not fled the scene, the accident would not have occurred.
For a free legal consultation with a police chase accidents lawyer serving San Jose, call (800) 598-7557
Filing a Claim Is Your First Step
Like most personal injury cases, filing a claim is often the first step in pursuing compensation. California law allows an individual to hold a public entity, such as the police department, liable for their injuries under the state’s Tort Claims Act. However, this process is more challenging than filing a claim under normal circumstances.
In general, the California Tort Claims Act provides immunity to public entities and their employees against liability for an injury, making it harder to seek compensation. Fortunately, there are limited exceptions where they can be held legally responsible, allowing injured victims to attempt to recover their damages.
The statute of limitations for claims against the government is shorter than the two-year time limit generally imposed on other personal injury cases. Under state law, you must file a personal injury claim against a public entity within six months of the incident. Failure to file the claim within the deadline may cause you to lose your legal right to seek compensation for your injuries, although there are exceptions. A San Jose accidents caused by police chase lawyer can review the specifics of your accident and help you understand your legal options.
If you file a notice of claim with the proper government entity, they have 45 days to examine your application and act on it. They will investigate the matter to determine if they were liable for what happened to you and may approve the claim fully or partially. Should their findings prove otherwise, they would notify you about rejecting your claim.
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What to Do If Your Claim is Denied
Claims against government agencies often get denied. You will receive a written notice about the decision within 45 days—otherwise, the filed claim is considered rejected. Any notification you receive, either in the mail or delivered personally, is your “right to sue” letter. In other words, you may now proceed with a lawsuit. If the government agency did not send a written notification rejecting the filed claim, you have two years from the date of the accident to proceed with a lawsuit.
Do not lose hope if the police department rejects your application—denied claims are more common than approved ones. To determine your next steps, consult a San Jose accidents caused by police chase lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC. Call us today to learn how we can help you move forward.
Benefits of Working with a Lawyer
When pursuing claims against the police or any other public entity, the rules are generally more stringent to deter baseless claims. A simple oversight can cause you to lose your legal right to seek compensation for the injuries or property damage you sustained due to a police chase. For instance, submitting a claim to the wrong agency can lead to its rejection and eventual lapse of the six-month deadline.
A public attorney may also use many defense tactics to dismiss or deny the personal injury suit in court. Working with a San Jose accidents caused by police chase lawyer can help ensure that you cover all bases, so your case is strong enough to hold merit.
A lawyer can also help you estimate a reasonable amount of damages. Many accident victims fail to account for all injury-related expenses, including future treatments and lost earnings, and wind up undervaluing their case. Aside from economic damages, you may also seek compensation for your pain and suffering, which has no set monetary value.
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Contact Us Today
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, our team of San Jose accidents caused by police chase lawyers understands the complex legal issues surrounding government immunity, liability, and pursuing a claim. We can help you sort out which parties were at fault and put together the best possible case to fight for compensation for your injuries. Contact us today at (800) 598-7557 for a free consultation.