Each year, hundreds of people across the United States are injured or killed in police car chases. Due to the dangerous nature of police pursuits, local and statewide policies only allow officers to give chase under certain situations.
Unfortunately, many of the car chases that do occur still end in tragedy for innocent bystanders. Worse still, liability can be a contentious issue for those who sustain injuries or losses.
Whether or not a car chase ends in an accident, the suspect will face serious civil and criminal consequences. In most cases, the suspect will be liable for all damages caused during a police pursuit, including your injuries and losses.
Nevertheless, the people who engage in car chases usually do not have many resources – nor do they carry auto insurance. As such, you may have to turn to your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UI/UIM) policy to cover your damages.
As we mentioned above, police officers who enter into car chases must abide by several rules. In Rochester, for example, the police department’s policy on pursuits is 18 pages long. If officers fail to behave appropriately during a chase, their department may be responsible for your injuries and losses.
Additionally, officers in some states are held to a higher duty of care while engaged in pursuit. If a police officer has to choose between a bystander’s safety or catching a suspect, they should always choose the former, and courts generally agree.
Ultimately, police liability will come down to where you live and the details of your particular case. Like other organizations that face liability, police departments have insurance and frequently work to avoid legal action.
If an officer strikes your vehicle during a car chase, the department will likely offer you a settlement. Some departments will even have their insurance company contact you if the suspect is the one who hits you.
In any situation, it helps to have an experienced local lawyer on your side.
Navigating the Aftermath of Police Pursuit
If you get hurt during a police pursuit, speak to an attorney before making any official statements to officers and insurance companies alike. The Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli is available 24/7 to help you understand your rights and legal options.
We can help you evaluate your local police department’s policies, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Determining liability after a car chase can be difficult, but our team has more than 2 decades of legal experience, focuses largely on motor vehicle accidents, and is here to help.
Call us at (516) 628-6402 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and get started today.