If you have ever watched an action-packed movie, you have probably come across a police chase. Scenes include sirens tearing through the air as the lights flash and vehicles zoom through streets filled with cars driven by innocent bystanders on their way about their normal routines that are suddenly shattered by the intrusion of a high-speed chase. Although this is more common on a movie set than it is in real life, there are times that police do chase criminals that are attempting to get away from the scene of a crime. When someone gets killed during these chases, who is responsible?
Most police officers are trained in defensive and offensive specialized driving that includes how to handle a high-speed chase vehicle containing suspects. For that reason, most officers are granted limited immunity from damages such as death or personal injury resulting from a suspect vehicle collision during a suspect chase. Of course, the deciding factor can be the weather conditions, how long the chase occurs, and how much risk the general public is involved in during the chase. The suspect’s danger to the community must always be weighed into the police officer’s deciding factor before a chase will be instituted.
When a driver gets a driver’s license from a state, he or she is agreeing to follow the state laws, rules, and duty of care owed to other drivers on the road. If the reasonable standard of care owed by the suspect to others on the road is neglected during a high-speed chase, the suspect could be liable for the damages that result from his or her actions during the chase. The suspect would have to be reckless on the roadway, someone would have to die due to that recklessness and the suspect must show irresponsible behavior when driving during the chase.
State and federal laws attempt to define the liability of deaths, injuries, and other issues resulting from high-speed chases involving suspects and police, but it is difficult because each situation can have extenuating circumstances. If someone you know dies during a high-speed chase with police, contact a personal injury lawyer and find out which laws apply to your particular claim.
A qualified and experienced lawyer can help you understand who has immunity from liability during a vehicle chase and the reasons for that immunity. An attorney, like a wrongful death lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL, can also help you understand if someone is liable for death through reckless action or inattention to duty of care.
Thank you to the expert lawyers at Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. for their insight into wrongful death cases and the law.