4 Facts About Police Chases: Can Officers Be Made Liable for Personal Injuries?

Personal Injury Lawyer

The odds that you will ever be involved in a high-speed police chase are slim; however, if some misunderstanding causes you to flee from the police for whatever reason or you become involved as a bystander, you may want to be aware of the consequences or what might happen if you are injured in a car accident resulting from such an incident. You may be surprised to discover that, despite any injuries you may incur, your options to gain any compensation may be slim because there are certain laws in place that protect police officers during and after a chase.

1. There Is Usually No Method of Operation for Car Chases

While some police operations have state or even nationwide guidelines, few have one in place for what defines the necessity of a high-speed chase. These incidents tend to take place when a dangerous or known criminal flees the scene of an accident or criminal activity. Because these chases usually take place in the heat of the moment, there are few guidelines for officers to follow when it comes to determining if giving chase is necessary.

2. Civilians Can Be at Risk for Injury 

If you are a civilian who was injured during a high-speed chase between the police and someone who was fleeing in his or her own vehicle, you may be able to bring legal action against the individual who was trying to escape. If you were accidentally struck by a police vehicle, the city may try to compensate you for the damage. You may want to consult a lawyer before accepting any type of settlement to ensure you are being treated fairly.

3. Some Laws Protect the Authorities 

Reuters notes that In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that any police officer participating in a high-speed chase cannot be held responsible for any damage to a fleeing vehicle or its driver, including forcing the vehicle off the road if it prevents further safety risks to people in the area. For example, if you decided to flee from the police to try and avoid being arrested for drunk driving and your vehicle is ruined in a police chase, you would likely have to eat the cost of those damages as well as face potential jail time.

4. Some Compliancy Laws Can Be Complicated 

If you were involved in a high-speed police chase as a bystander and were injured, then you may be able to seek compensation. However, since some pursuit guidelines can be intricate, working with an attorney may make filing your personal injury case simpler. This might be especially helpful if your injuries have limited your mobility and daily energy levels.

It can be difficult to understand your rights after being involved in a high-speed police chase. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Trenton, NJ today for additional information.

Thanks to Davis & Brusca for their insight into personal injury claims and police chases.