A Lifeline for Victims of Police-Chase-Related Injuries
Police have the job of stopping people from committing crimes. When an officer signals a driver to pull over with sirens and flashing lights, the driver is required to comply. In some cases, however, drivers refuse to pull over and try to outrun police instead, leading to a high speed chase. This creates a risk of injury for others on the road.
What Makes a Police Chase So Dangerous?
Motorists have no way of predicting when a high-speed police chase is about to occur. When they hear police sirens, drivers may not know immediately which direction a police car is traveling and may not have sufficient time to react. Both the vehicle driven by the person trying to escape the police and the police car pursuing that vehicle can reach high speeds in excess of 100 mph. At speeds this great, the impact of a crash can cause catastrophic injuries. When a high speed chase goes wrong and a driver loses control of the vehicle, innocent bystanders can be injured or killed.
What Practices Must Government Officials Follow in a Police Chase?
Law enforcement officers have a duty to exercise extreme caution when chasing a suspect. The law imposes regulations they must follow while conducting a high-speed chase. In addition to their duty to detain criminals, police have a responsibility to keep the general public safe. A decision must be made as to whether the benefits to the public of a high-speed chase will outweigh the risks. In many cases, police are pursuing people suspected of minor, non-violent criminal offenses who flee for various reasons.
What Are Your Rights As a Pedestrian or Motorist?
Collateral damage is not unheard of when Arizona police chase suspects who flee. If you have been injured as a bystander in a police-chase-related collision, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses. You may be entitled to claim damages, which may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost earnings
- Loss of future earning potential
- Property damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma
- Permanent disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
What Types of Injuries Are Sustained in Police-Chase-Related Collisions?
With two vehicles screaming recklessly through traffic at high speeds, the impact of a collision can cause serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries. Examples of such injuries include:
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal organ damage
- Fractured bones
- Wrongful death
Who Can Be Held Liable for Police-Chase-Related Injuries?
Generally, the party at fault for the accident can be held liable for resulting injuries. After a crash related to a police chase, there may be multiple potentially liable parties, including:
- The suspect who was being chased by the police, if that person was driving recklessly or at excessive speeds, which resulted in a collision
- Police officers and their department if the chase involved undue risk to life and property
- Municipality which contains the police department if adequate safeguards were not in place or police officers were not adequately trained in pursuit procedures
What Steps Should You Take After a Police-Chase-Related Accident?
If you have been injured in a collision that resulted from a police chase, the first step is to get emergency medical treatment if necessary. Report the accident to the police. If you are able, take pictures of the accident scene and document any relevant facts, including names and contact information for eyewitnesses. Get medical treatment for your injuries and speak with an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash.
The Husband & Wife Law Team has extensive experience and a successful track record in car accident cases. Our firm was founded in 1996. Mark Breyer is a certified specialist in injury and wrongful death law, a designation earned by fewer than 2% of Arizona lawyers. Call us at (602) 457-6222 to find out how we can help.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer