High-speed police chases occur fairly often in cities and towns across the country. While these pursuits are sometimes the only way for officers to apprehend suspects promptly, their chaotic nature puts everyone in traffic at risk. Sadly, it’s innocent bystanders who tend to suffer the most.
Every year, approximately 350 people are killed during police chases, and many more sustain serious injuries. Although victims are usually entitled to compensation, securing an actual payout is an uphill journey.
If you were struck by a police car that was pursuing a suspect at the time, you’re probably wondering how best to proceed. For help getting started, here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions on the subject:
1. Who Is Liable for the Damages That Result from a Police Chase?
Assigning blame is one of the first steps to getting a car accident claim off the ground. After all, you won’t know who to name in your claim if you haven’t determined who was ultimately responsible for the crash.
Accidents that occur during high-speed police chases can be attributed to a number of parties, including both the criminal who started the chase and the officers who were following him or her. If it turns out you have grounds for a claim against the municipality—perhaps the officers failed to turn on their sirens or were in pursuit on a public road where chases were prohibited—you’re going to want to make sure the attorney you hire is well-versed at taking on government agencies.
Tort claims involving police chases are regulated by all kinds of laws that don’t apply to standard car accident claims, and overlooking any of them could prove disastrous to the outcome of your case.
2. How Long Do You Have to Take Action Against a Police Department?
If it turns out the municipality is responsible for your damages, you likely have just six months to file an administrative claim with the appropriate government entity. They then have 45 days to respond. If they deny your claim, you have six months from the date on which the rejection letter was mailed to file a formal lawsuit.
If they do not respond at all, you have two years from the date on which you were hurt to bring a case.
3. What Kinds of Damages Can You Seek from a Police Department?
In California, personal injury claimants can seek funds for essentially all the losses they wouldn’t have suffered had they not gotten hurt. Such losses might include medical expenses, missed paychecks, and the cost of replacement services. California tort law also recognizes non-economic damages like pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, and emotional distress.
Speak with a Long Beach Car Accident Attorney
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
At the Law Office of Michael D. Waks, we fight for those who have been wronged by others. If your life was turned upside-down during a police chase, we’ll help you take the steps needed to hold all liable parties accountable. Call (562) 206-1939 or submit our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Long Beach.
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Should you ever find yourself in another collision, you’ll want to ensure you record the scene thoroughly. Doing so will make it much easier to hold the at-fault parties accountable later, during the claims process. Download our Car Crash Emergency Response .pdf HERE for free, and keep a copy in each of your vehicles, so you always have a checklist on hand for documenting the site of a crash.
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