According to research published by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), police officers must weigh the risks versus benefits of pursuing and capturing a fleeing suspect and endangering the public as a result of that pursuit. Too many restrictions on police pursuits could result in placing the public at risk with dangerous individuals escaping apprehension and possible justice. On the other hand, failing to have sufficient controls on police pursuits could result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities. If you suffered injuries as a result of a police chase, find out how a Washington DC accidents caused by police chase lawyer may be able to help you build a personal injury claim and seek compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 959-1444 to discuss the details of your case with a member of our team today.
Police Chase Resulting in Injuries
Police officers have the unenviable responsibility to make split-second decisions regarding whether or not to pursue a suspect. In most cases, a police officer that pursues a suspect does so because they have a reasonable suspicion that the person committed an illegal activity. However, a high-speed chase could result in injuries involving roadway accidents, or even gunfire. Some of the types of injuries that victims suffer as a result of a police chase include:
- Gunshot wounds
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Aortic dissection
- Neck and back injuries (including whiplash)
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones, fractured bones
- Nerve damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological trauma
For a free legal consultation with a police chase accidents lawyer serving Washington DC, call (844) 638-1822
Determining Liability in Police Chases
If you suffered injuries as a result of police chasing you, or as an innocent driver or bystander unexpectedly involved in a police chase simply due to your location, you may have the legal right to pursue compensation for any injuries and losses suffered as a result of that police chase. Police officers are government representatives and have the responsibility to make decisions that protect the public and ensure their safety. If an investigation determines that a police officer acted negligently, recklessly, or without the public’s safety in mind, you may have the legal right to pursue a claim against the police department for their negligence that resulted in your injuries.
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Filing a Claim Against a Police Department
Filing a claim against a police department is essentially filing a claim against a governmental entity. Individuals can file a claim with the Office of Attorney General for the District of Columbia for unliquidated damages (loss, damage, or injury), by filing a Notice of Claim letter within six months of the date of the incident according to D.C. Code § 12-309.
These types of claims are vastly different than filing a claim against a private citizen or corporation. There are specific rules that apply to governmental entities regarding lawsuits and claims that do not exist in the private sector. In many cases, governmental entities have immunity and remain insulated from lawsuits from private citizens. However, if an investigation determines that the government official (in this case, a police officer) caused direct harm to another person resulting in injuries and losses, the victim has the legal right to bring a claim against that police officer or police department. If you feel you have a valid claim against a police officer or police department regarding injuries suffered from a police chase, learn how a Washington DC accidents caused by police chase lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help you understand your legal rights.
Factors to Consider Regarding a Police Chase Claim
While every claim against a police officer regarding a police chase will have its own set of facts and circumstances, there are certain factors to consider regarding a police chase claim. Consider the following:
- Did the police officer(s) make the decision to pursue a suspect where there was a substantial risk to innocent lives that outweighed the reward? (i.e. the driver simply failed to fully stop at a stop sign or violated a minor traffic law).
- Did the police officer(s) place innocent lives directly in danger in order to pursue a suspect that was not a threat to society as a whole?
- Did the police officer(s) fail to follow their own internal procedures regarding a police chase?
- Did the police officer(s) fail to stop the pursuit of a suspect, even when directly instructed to do so by a supervisor or higher-ranking police official?
- Did the police officer(s) use excessive and unnecessary force in the pursuit of a suspect?
- Did the police officer(s) fire weapons at any time during the police chase while innocent motorists or bystanders stood or drove nearby?
- Did the police chase result in any injuries or death to innocent motorists or bystanders?
Police officers have a wide latitude of discretion to use in order to perform their jobs well and make difficult decisions in stressful and dangerous circumstances. Everyone has a better perspective of how to handle any situation after the fact, and away from the potentially life-threatening or violent circumstance. However, police officers have a responsibility and duty to ensure that they follow their own internal protocols and procedures regarding police chases in order to capture a suspect and keep their community safe.
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Consider How a Washington DC Accidents Caused by Police Chase Lawyer Can Help You
If you suffered injuries or someone you love died as a result of a police chase in Washington DC, you have the legal right to pursue justice. Additionally, you may have the right to receive compensation for your injuries and losses. Filing a claim against a governmental entity such as a police officer or police department can be extremely complex and legally challenging. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 959-1444 to discuss the details of your case today. The call is free and confidential, and we do not shy away from the tough cases.