Most people assume that cops are highly trained when it comes to high-speed chases. While this might be true, it does not change that about 5,000 people suffer injuries and about 500 people die every year due to a high-speed chase involving a police officer. While every state and police station has its own rules for when it is reasonable to conduct a high-speed chase, they still happen.
If you lost a loved one in an accident due to a high-speed chase, you may be wondering what legal recourse you can take. When it comes to these kinds of cases, they are more complicated. Here is what you need to know about the obstacles that may complicate your wrongful death lawsuit.
To hold an officer liable for wrongful death is difficult. Police often have sovereign immunity. They may be immune when it comes to liability claims. There are exceptions to this rule. There is a federal statute that allows you to file a lawsuit against the police as long as the police acted in a way that was beyond reckless. It can’t be simple negligence. To hold the police accountable, he or she had to have acted so recklessly that it would shock the conscience.
In general, police cannot disregard other people’s safety when on the road. For instance, if a high-speed chase can normally only happen under certain circumstances, such as a felony, and if it is too dangerous to other vehicles, then the cop cannot pursue the suspect. For instance, in crowded traffic, it would be reckless for a police officer to take part in a high-speed chase. Likewise, if the road conditions are particularly dangerous, he or she should not pursue it.
After a police chase, you may blame the officer, but the officer may claim that it was the suspect’s fault, rather than his or her own. They can say that the perpetrator caused the accident because he or she caused the chase. Unfortunately, juries often side with police because they perceive the suspect as the bad guy and the cop as the good one.
If your loved one was a victim in a car accident due to an officer’s reckless actions, you can still hold the police accountable. While these cases tend to be more complex, you can better your chances of success with a wrongful death lawyer, like from Kamper & Estrada, PLLC, at your side.