How many times have you seen a police chase on television? Have you ever wondered what happens if law enforcement officers strike an innocent bystander or motorist along their path?
There may be a few different legal remedies available to you if you get hurt in such an incident.
How liability differs in a standard accident versus police chase ones
Drivers have what lawmakers refer to as a responsibility to exercise a “duty of care” around other pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists. The family of a deceased motorist or an injured driver can generally sue a reckless motorist for damages, including funeral costs, medical bills and lost wages.
Many legal analysts argue that police don’t have the same obligation as other motorists to exercise a duty of care. Many judges, however, have tried to send a message that they believe that law enforcement officers do owe other drivers a better duty of care. Many courts have made it clear that law enforcement officers must carefully weigh the gravity of the alleged offense along with the road conditions and population density when deciding whether to engage in a high-speed police chase.
It’s now not uncommon for judges to rule against law enforcement when it’s apparent that they could have pursued different options in tracking a suspect instead of engaging in a high-speed chase.
What you can do if a police chase changed your life
Staten Island law enforcement officers are often so intent on getting to the scene of an accident, crime or busy chasing a suspect that they lose track of their speed and surroundings. This lapse in judgment puts innocent bystanders and motorists at risk of getting hurt. A pedestrian accidents attorney will want to know more about the events leading up to your incident before advising you of your right to hold a New York law enforcement agency liable for your injuries or loved one’s untimely death.