There are often great tragedies that come out of high-speed chases. Sometimes the tragedy involves the police officer, other times it’s the alleged criminal, and sometimes tragedy even hits innocent bystanders. When someone dies as the result of a high-speed chase initiated by police, are the police responsible?
Assessing the Situation
Though there is not one general rule across every state in the case of a high-speed chase, in many states police officers are asked to quickly assess the situation. If the chase would be of more danger to themselves and the public than letting the alleged criminal get away, they may be instructed to just let it go. If the person they begin chasing poses more of a threat than the chase itself, they could be instructed to carry out the chase.
In most high-speed chases, police officers are not held responsible for injuries and death that result from the chase. They have a duty to protect the public, and if they feel catching a suspected criminal is in the best interest of everyone in the community, it’s their responsibility to give chase. They can’t fulfill their duty to protect if they can’t chase certain criminals. Because the person suspected of the crime started the interaction between police officers, that person is typically the responsible party.
The Car Involved
Responsibility for a death that results from a high-speed chase doesn’t depend on which car actually strikes the person who passes away. Whether it’s the police car or the suspect’s car, the responsibility remains the same, which is generally with the suspect.
How It Looks in Court
When someone sues the police department or a specific officer on behalf of their deceased loved one, they may begin to wonder how it will look to a court. Do they have a chance to obtain compensation or do the police officers have a better case? If they sue the suspected criminal, would they have a better chance at winning the case or would the criminal get off free because the police started the chase? Someone experienced in wrongful death can help the victims to better understand their rights and whether or not the case would hold up in court.
Contacting an Attorney
If your loved one died as the result of a police-initiated high-speed chase, you deserve compensation for the unexpected costs of their death. Will that compensation come from the police or the suspect? Contact an attorney for help in knowing who to sue and how to move forward with the lawsuit.