Each year, tens of thousands of high- and low-speed police pursuits happen all across the country, and quite a few of them occur right here in California. Sadly, it's not uncommon for these types of car chases to end in an accident—and when they do, it's not only the police officers and the subject of the pursuit who can end up seriously hurt, or worse.
According to state and federal crash statistics, police chase accidents frequently injure or kill bystanders (uninvolved pedestrians, motorists, or passengers). Unfortunately, if you were hurt or lost a loved one in a police pursuit accident in the Inland Empire, your options for obtaining compensation—and justice—are limited. Our highly-skilled injury recovery specialists can help you fight for the damages you deserve. Here's what you need to know.
Holding Law Enforcement Accountable for a Police Pursuit Crash
When you're hurt or lose a family member in a police chase, one of the first things you may want to do is hold the relevant law enforcement agency accountable for their role in the accident. Sadly, in many cases, that can be difficult, if not impossible.
Government immunity usually shields officers from liability for injuries, deaths, or other damages resulting from a police pursuit. However, police must weigh the potential risks to the public against the danger posed by the suspect before initiating a pursuit—and terminate the chase if the risks to the public outweigh the benefits of immediately catching the suspect. If proper protocols have not been instituted in the relevant law enforcement department, then some liability may be imposed on the pursuing officer and his agency. An experienced personal injury attorney can investigate your case and help you explore your options.
Suing the Subject of a Police Pursuit
If a suspect's reckless or negligent driving during the course of a police chase causes an accident that results in injury, property damage, or the loss of a loved one, you may be able to file an insurance claim or lawsuit in an attempt to hold them financially responsible. If the driver stole the vehicle, there will be no insurance coverage for the collision. You may need to pursue your own uninsured motorist coverage, or if you are driving for your employer at the time, your employer may have an uninsured motorist policy available to cover your losses. A knowledgeable car crash attorney can help you show that the driver in question breached their duty of care to drive safely, which directly caused your injuries and other losses.
Potential Compensation in California Car Accident Cases
California law allows car crash personal injury victims to pursue compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic losses, including related medical expenses, property repair or replacement costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Compensation for the surviving family members of a bystander killed in a police pursuit often looks different. Settlements or financial awards in car accident wrongful death cases can include:
- Cost of accident-related medical care the deceased received before death
- Funeral and burial (or cremation) expenses
- Estimated lifetime earnings
- Loss of financial support for surviving family members
- Loss of companionship, affection, guidance, etc.
Our attorneys can help you determine which types of compensation may apply to your case.
Why You Need an Attorney
If you're injured, unable to work, and sinking beneath the weight of unexpected medical debt, there's far too much at stake to go it alone. A talented personal injury attorney can thoroughly investigate the police pursuit accident, gather valuable evidence, and build a strong case for damages. Working with a skilled attorney is particularly important in cases involving police pursuit accidents. If necessary, we can call upon a variety of expert witnesses—from accident reconstructionists to economic advisers and beyond—to testify on your behalf.
Let Us Investigate Your Police Pursuit Case
At the Inland Empire Law Group, our adept attorneys have helped many clients successfully resolve their car accident insurance claims and lawsuits. Not only do we know the relevant laws, we know how to skillfully interpret them to our clients' benefit. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to find out how we can assist you in your fight for justice and fair compensation. Don't wait—you have a limited time to bring a lawsuit.