There can be little doubt that police officers have a difficult job. The nature of the job requires that they weigh the risks and benefits of a course of action and make a decision quickly. In some cases, police officers make the wrong decision, and someone is hurt as a result.
As a general rule, police officers are entitled to immunity from personal injury lawsuits, as long as they are acting within certain boundaries. Normally, a mere showing of negligence will not be enough to overcome police officer immunity. However, when a police officer causes a serious injury due to their reckless conduct, liability may be appropriate.
One common instance in which innocent bystanders may be injured by the actions of police is in a high-speed chase. High-speed chases, by their very nature, involve high speeds and likely also involve numerous violations of the motor vehicle code. This type of driving puts not only the police at risk but also the general public. In fact, in 2014, there were over 375 people killed in police high-speed chases.
Before police engage in a high-speed chase, they should weigh the risks involved. On one hand, allowing a motorist suspected of violent behavior to go free may put the public at future risk. However, engaging in a high-speed pursuit of a minor traffic law offender may not warrant the increased risk of causing a serious accident.
Six-Year-Old Girl Struck in Police Chase
Earlier this month, a six-year-old girl and her aunt were both struck by a motorist who was fleeing police. According to a local news source covering the accident, the area where the chase occurred was a busy commercial area of the city and was near a theater that had just let out after putting on a children’s show.
Police were on patrol, looking for ATVs and dirt bikes that were being operated on city streets, which is against the law. They saw one man on a dirt bike and attempted to pull him over. However, as police turned on their lights and sirens, the motorist fled, and police followed. As the man on the dirt bike fled from police, he struck the six-year-old girl and her aunt, seriously injuring them both. The motorcyclist was also seriously injured and was arrested after police arrived on the scene a short time later.
After the accident, the police department began a review of the policy of when to pursue motorists who flee police.
Have You Been Injured in an Accident with Police?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in an accident with a police officer or another government official, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. While police are entitled to immunity in some situations, there are many times when that immunity does not apply, due to an officer’s reckless decisions. The skilled injury attorneys at the Maryland-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience in all types of personal injury law, including car and motorcycle accident cases. Call 410-654-3600 today to schedule your free consultation with a dedicated personal injury attorney.
More Blog Posts:
Federal Appellate Court Discusses Sovereign Immunity in Recent Bicycle Accident Case, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published April 13, 2017.
Drivers May Have a Difficult Time Seeing Motorcyclists and Bicyclists, But That’s No Excuse for an Accident, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published March 30, 2017.