Police pursuits may be an essential part of law enforcement work, but it does not erase the fact that they are highly dangerous activities. According to USA Today, since 1979, thousands suffered injuries and property damage due to high-speed chases while others were not as lucky—dying inside their vehicles struck by the police or fleeing suspects.
In Florida, the state’s highway patrol revised its pursuit policy to chasing only suspected felons, reckless drivers, and intoxicated motorists. Standard protocols also dictate balancing the risks and benefits before engaging in pursuits. However, accidents can still happen. If you were part of a chase’s collateral damage, speak to a Tampa accidents caused by police chase lawyer from Ben Crump Law, PLLC to understand your legal rights. Get in touch at (800) 598-7557 with a member of our team.
Florida Is a No-Fault State
Collisions involving police chases may somewhat differ from typical car accidents—damages are often catastrophic, especially with high-speed pursuits that aim to apprehend suspects. It is not surprising that these leave a hefty toll on those severely injured or with destroyed properties.
If you had injuries because your vehicle was struck by those involved in a police chase, know that you can file an accident claim with your insurance company. Florida is one of the few states that follow a no-fault insurance system—the insurer will cover their insured’s medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who is responsible for the accident. Such an arrangement differs from the at-fault scheme implemented in most states where liable parties should pay for the incurred damages.
The state mandates all vehicle owners to carry personal injury protection of $10,000 and property damage coverage of $10,0000 per accident, according to the Florida Bar. However, Florida’s insurance law limits how much you can claim as benefits, subject to a deductible. Your insurer will only cover 80% of accident-related medical bills and 60% of lost wages, even if your policy limit is up to $10,000 for personal injuries. If you incurred $2,500 in medical expenses and another $2,500 for lost income for total damages of $5,000, you would only receive $3,500, excluding the deductible you have to pay.
For a free legal consultation with a police chase accidents lawyer serving Tampa, call (800) 598-7557
Pursuing a Claim Outside the No-Fault System
Florida’s no-fault system deters injured victims from pursuing unusually high compensatory damages from liable parties through litigation. However, it does not mean that you can no longer seek recovery from those responsible for the unfortunate incident. You may bring a claim beyond the limitations of the no-fault system if you suffer from:
- Permanent loss of function in a body part
- Long-term or permanent injury
- Extensive scarring, deformity, or disfigurement
Besides medical expenses and lost income, you can also receive compensation for pain and suffering due to catastrophic injuries. It is also possible to pursue an accident claim if your damages exceed the state’s $10,000 threshold for injuries. Moreover, you can sue for other incurred expenses excluded from the personal injury protection coverage. For instance, you availed of housekeeping services because of your disability or limited mobility. If you want to estimate the value of your claim, consult with a Tampa accidents caused by police chase lawyer.
Tampa Police Chase Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 598-7557
Determining Liability in Police Chase Accidents
If you decide to proceed with a personal injury claim, determining liability is crucial before you recover damages. In police chases, sorting out fault for the accident is not simple compared to typical collisions involving private individuals. It is difficult to sue public entities and their employees, such as law enforcement officers, because of sovereign immunity.
States have sovereign immunity statutes that bar people from suing government employees for injury-related civil damages due to the latter’s performance of duties. If you had injuries when the vehicle being pursued or the police struck yours, the officers might call on sovereign immunity to waive their liability in the accident.
However, that should not deter you from holding them liable for what you suffered. There were cases of successful injury claims involving high-speed police pursuits. In Florida, sovereign immunity does not apply for incidents where there is negligence. Police officers and their departments can be responsible for the resulting damages, primarily if they acted negligently. They have a duty of care to everyone, and driving recklessly to chase a fleeing suspect is a violation and puts motorists and bystanders at risk.
Police departments and overarching agencies may share some liability, especially if there are lapses in procedures, improper training, or lack of safeguards to deter such an unfortunate incident. Sometimes, you can also hold the fleeing driver liable—they blatantly breached their duty of care and harmed others, be it intentional or unintentional.
Let a Tampa accidents caused by police chase lawyer from Ben Crump Law, PLLC determine liability in your case. Get in touch today with a representative.
Special Considerations When Seeking Compensation
When you decide to seek recovery for your pursuit-related injuries, understand that it is subject to special considerations. It is best to work with a Tampa accidents caused by police chase lawyer since they are familiar with the applicable laws that might impact your claim.
Under state law, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim against public entities is three years. It is shorter than the four-year time limit for negligence lawsuits involving private individuals. Moreover, you have to submit the claim to the appropriate agency; failure to do so may result in its denial.
Florida’s sovereign immunity statute limits the amount of possible claims payout to only $200,000 or up to $300,000, including claims paid by other relevant agencies involved in the same incident. If the jury award goes beyond the limit, you can recover the excess amount through legislation.
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Get Legal Support from a Tampa Accident Lawyer
Pursuing claims against the police for related accidents is more challenging than normal circumstances involving private individuals. It is to deter baseless claims and unscrupulous people from exploiting the system for their benefit. As such, getting compensation could come with many hurdles, so it is best to retain a Tampa accident caused by a police chase lawyer from Ben Crump Law, PLLC for legal support. Call (800) 598-7557 to start discussions on your case.