Los Angeles is one of the most populated cities on Earth, so naturally the city has a large police force that are involved in car chases with criminals every day. While the majority of these police chases end peacefully with the suspect being placed under arrest and citizens going about their day, occasionally, some of these car chases result in injuries and even deaths for innocent bystanders.
When criminals put the lives of innocent people in danger, any number of circumstances can occur such as crashing into other cars, driving into pedestrians, driving into buildings, shooting guns, crashing into light poles, carjackings, or assaults, just to name a few. This article was created to give information to those who were injured as a result of a vehicle pursuit involving police so they can understand their legal rights in the state of California.
Can I sue a driver who injures me while fleeing from the police in a car?
Yes, you can sue a driver who injures you while they are fleeing from the police in a car. When a driver engages in a police chase and causes an accident that results in injuries to others, they can be held liable for those injuries. Here are a few key points to consider in such a scenario:
- Negligence and Liability: In personal injury cases, the concept of negligence is central. The driver fleeing from the police can be considered negligent because they are engaging in reckless and unlawful behavior that puts others at risk. If their actions directly cause an accident that results in your injuries, they can be held liable.
- Personal Injury Lawsuit: You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the fleeing driver. In this lawsuit, you would need to prove that the driver’s actions were negligent and directly caused your injuries. Damages you might claim include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs.
- Criminal vs. Civil Cases: It’s important to note that the driver’s criminal prosecution for fleeing from the police is separate from your civil claim for injuries. You can pursue a civil case for damages regardless of the outcome of any criminal charges the driver faces.
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage: If the driver who injured you does not have insurance or has insufficient insurance to cover your damages, you may need to file a claim under your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, if you have such coverage.
- Consulting a Lawyer: Personal injury cases can be complex, particularly when they involve criminal actions like fleeing from the police. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights and the best course of action. A lawyer can assist in gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing your interests in court if necessary.
Remember, each case is unique, and the specifics of your situation will determine the best legal path to take. Consulting with a legal professional is advised to get tailored advice and representation.
Can You Sue the Police or the City if you are injured due to a police chase?
Yes, you can sue the police if their actions were negligent and directly led to your injuries. However, these cases are complex and require a thorough legal analysis. The answer depends on several factors, including whether the police acted within the scope of their policy and training and if their actions were deemed negligent under California law.
California Law and Police Chase Injuries:
California law recognizes the potential for harm in police pursuits and provides specific guidelines under which these chases should be conducted. The state’s Vehicle Code and case law set forth the circumstances under which a police officer can initiate a pursuit and the duty of care they owe to the public.
What constitutes police negligence in a car chase?
Police negligence can include reckless driving, ignoring public safety protocols, or engaging in a chase without just cause.
How do I prove that the police were at fault?
Proving fault requires evidence such as police reports, witness statements, video footage, and an expert analysis of the chase.
What compensation can I seek?
Victims can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.
Is there a time limit to file a lawsuit?
Yes, California imposes specific time limits (statutes of limitations) for filing lawsuits against government entities. Prompt legal consultation is crucial.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a bystander during a police chase in Los Angeles, it’s important to understand your legal rights. At J&Y Law Firm, we are committed to providing expert legal guidance and representation to ensure that your rights are protected and justice is served. Call J&Y Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA today at (877) 310-2104 for a free consultation to discuss your situation and to determine the right path forward for you to get the justice you deserve.