Police officers in the Seattle area often find themselves in a car chase with another driver. While pursuing a suspect, an officer—following established standards—can engage in roadway behavior that might put other drivers and bystanders at risk.
While we expect police officers to prize the care of other drivers over the arrest of a suspect on the road, there are times when you might still find yourself in an accident caused by an officer’s behavior. In these situations, you can collaborate with a Seattle accidents caused by police chase lawyer to determine your legal rights and calculate what compensation you might be entitled to receive.
You can get in touch with the team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today at (800) 598-7557 to discuss the details of your case. The initial consultation is free.
Liability After an Accident Caused by a Police Chase
When police officers become involved in a high-speed pursuit, they must abide by the same Washington standard of care expected of all drivers. As such, police agencies can face legal consequences for causing damage to other vehicles on the road.
That said, some situations allow police officers to exhibit behaviors on the road that might make it more difficult for an injured party to receive compensation from them should they become involved in an accident resulting from the chase. For example, police officers may initiate a pursuit against drivers who elude arrest for certain felonies. Still, they should try not to cause direct harm to other vehicles on the road. The Seattle Police Department Manual outlines that officers should not pursue a suspect:
- Without an articulable justification for the chase.
- Without regard for public safety.
- While driving an unmarked vehicle.
- Without using emergency lights and siren.
- For traffic violations, misdemeanors, property crimes, or the act of eluding alone.
Seattle police officers must also cease their pursuit if the pursuit exposes the public to greater risk than seizing of the intended target is worth.
King County Sheriff’s deputies and Washington State Patrol officers follow similar guidelines when deciding whether to pursue a suspect.
For a free legal consultation with a police chase accidents lawyer serving Seattle, call (800) 598-7557
Pursue Compensation for Your Losses After an Accident Caused by a Police Chase
You may feel nervous deciding whether to pursue legal action against a police officer or department if you face severe injuries and substantial financial damages because of a police chase. A Seattle accidents caused by police chase lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and pursue action against liable parties. They can do so in such a way that you can fight for your compensation without worrying over imagined infractions against local law enforcement.
To begin this process, per Revised Code of Washington (RCW) § 4.92.100 and RCW § 4.96.020, you must first file a claim with the appropriate government body within the three-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases set by RCW 4.16.080:
The department reviews your claim and determines whether to accept responsibility or deny your claim. If it acknowledges liability, a claims adjuster will likely contact you to begin settlement talks. If it rejects your claim, you must wait 60 days after filing before initiating legal action by suing in state court.
A Seattle accidents caused by a police officer lawyer can help you navigate this often-confusing process to protect your right to pursue compensation.
Evidence You Need to Prove Your Claim
Relevant evidence after a police chase-related car accident that can prove the officer’s liability might include:
- Police reports detailing the chase that took place and the accident.
- The property damage you suffered because of police negligence.
- Signs of damage on the road, including skid marks.
- Video, photo, or audio evidence of the accident.
- Eyewitness accounts detailing the cause of the crash.
Types of Compensation You Could Recover
After compiling evidence of the officer’s liability, you can then calculate your compensation. That compensation can include:
- Any medical expenses you incurred while seeking treatment for accident-related injuries.
- Any future medical expenses for treatments that your doctors deem necessary to restore your previous quality of life.
- In-home medical aids and accommodations essential to function on a day-to-day basis.
- Lost income, including any reduced earning capacity from permanent disability.
- Pain and suffering.
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs.
- Property damage to your vehicle and any of its contents.
- Wrongful death and funeral costs, if necessary.
Seattle Police Chase Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 598-7557
Representing Your Interests
If the government acknowledges its liability for the accident, it will likely reach out to you with an offer of compensation for your losses. You can work with a Seattle personal injury attorney to determine whether this compensation accounts for all your financial needs (both current and future) or fails to address all your potential avenues for compensation.
If the offer does not meet your needs, you can have a Seattle accidents caused by police chase attorney negotiate on your behalf. They can counter the government’s proposal and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.
If the government denies your claim, an attorney can craft your complaint and file it in superior court.
Respecting Your Financial Standing
The team with Ben Crump Law, PLLC, recognizes that you might find it challenging to seek legal action against the officers or department involved in your car accident while fighting the financial burdens associated with hefty medical and repair bills. As such, our firm operates on contingency. You pay no upfront fees and only receive a bill for services rendered if you receive compensation for your losses.
Let a Seattle Accidents Caused by Police Chase Lawyer Help You
If you become involved in a car accident because of police action while engaged in a car chase, you may not feel confident filing a claim for compensation against those parties. However, police officers in the Seattle area are not above the law. A Seattle accidents caused by police chase lawyer can explain your legal rights after a crash and work with you to file a complaint requesting compensation for your losses.
If you want to pursue such a case against the offending parties, you can get in touch with the team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, to discuss the details of your case. Call (800) 598-7557 today for your free case review.