We count on the police to stop crime and catch criminals. There is no doubt that having a responsible police force protects businesses and keeps us safe. However, when police engage in a dangerous pursuit of a suspect, we have to ask whether the chase is worth the risk. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a crash with a car being chased by the police or by the police car chasing a suspect or responding to a call, our team of personal injury lawyers might be able to help. Contact us for a free evaluation of your potential claim to learn about your options.
Essential Questions to Answer When Considering a Police Chase Lawsuit
As the victim of a crash with a police car, you don’t have to analyze the situation or know anything about the law—that’s our job. When you reach out to our office, we will ask you about what happened and then gather the details that will help us determine if we have a valid case. Questions we will investigate include the following:
- What was your involvement? The first thing we will need to know is whether you are a first party or a third party to the chase. A first party would be the person who is actively fleeing the police. If you were the one driving the car that was being chased, and you crashed and got hurt, you would most likely not have a claim against the officer. However, if you were a bystander or motorist who was not involved in the chase until you were hit, you could have a viable case. In addition, innocent passengers—especially children—who were in the car being chased could also have a claim against the officer.
- Did you violate traffic law? Police cars have sirens for a reason. If the police car in pursuit was using its lights and sirens, and you failed to stop at an intersection or pull over to the side of the road, you could be the one at fault for the crash and would not have a claim against the officer.
- Does the officer have immunity? Under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, governmental entities do not have absolute immunity from lawsuits involving gross negligence and recklessness. That means you can sue an officer for damages in some situations, but there are numerous exceptions to the waiver of immunity. In addition, the Act places a cap of $300,000 on lawsuits against government entities. It is important that you trust an experienced attorney to navigate the law in this area.
- What initiated the pursuit? An important element in these cases is whether the officer violated the policies of their department in engaging in a high-speed pursuit. Many municipalities prohibit chases following routine traffic stops, non-violent property offenses, and unconfirmed suspicions. If the officer who hit you was in pursuit of a violent criminal and in compliance with departmental policies, you might not have a case.
- Where did the chase happen? Police departments also have policies about where chases happen and what speeds can be reached. Generally, speeding through congested downtown areas is not allowed, but a high-speed chase on a highway or in a rural area might be considered justified.
Again, we do not expect you to answer these questions before reaching out to our office for help. We will thoroughly investigate the circumstances in a free case evaluation. If we don’t believe you have a claim for damages, we will be honest about it and charge you nothing. If we think we can prove gross negligence, we will fight on your behalf.
Trust Our Team to Fight for What You Deserve
With unmatched experience in police chase and response injury claims and a culture that focuses on providing responsive, compassionate service to our clients, Pracht Injury Lawyers is here for you. Our mission is to use our hearts and our heads to help our clients pursue all of the compensation to which they are entitled. Reach out to our team as soon as you can. We will answer all of your questions and be candid about your options. You have suffered in uncertainty long enough. Get the answers you need now.