In Chicago, high-speed police chases that cause injuries are more common than in most other cities in the United States. Oftentimes, those who are injured in police pursuits aren’t even the violators that the police are pursuing. They’re often innocent bystanders, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists. In Chicago alone, there have been over 200 deaths caused by high-speed police chases since 1979, and over half of those killed were non-violators, according to research done by USA Today.
Types of Injuries from High-Speed Police Chases
As mentioned, police officers and the offender they’re pursuing are less likely to be injured and die in a high-speed police chase than innocent bystanders. Police pursuits often cause the offender and police officers to speed, ignore stop signs, and disregard traffic signals at intersections. This can cause car accidents because other drivers are following the rules of the road and don’t expect a police chase to come flying around a corner or through an intersection. The high speeds of most pursuits alone make getting out of the way in time incredibly difficult.
Here are some of the types of injuries you could sustain from a high-speed police chase as an innocent bystander or passenger:
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Neck and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury and other nerve damage
- PTSD and other emotional injuries
If you’ve suffered an injury or catastrophic injury as the result of a high-speed police chase, you may be wondering what your legal rights are in this situation, or if any actions can be taken against the responsible party.
Who Is Liable for Your Injuries?
As an innocent bystander who was injured in a high-speed police chase, you may have the right to seek damages from the party who caused your injury. This can include both the suspect/offender that was being chased as well as the police department involved in the high-speed pursuit. In some cases, your best scenario may be to file a claim against a government entity.
Filing against a government entity can be extremely complicated. In some cases, the government has immunity that protects them from lawsuits, but if a police officer’s negligence or willful and wanton conduct while in a high-speed chase is what caused your injuries, then you could have a claim. Police officers are expected to act with caution and care when they are in pursuit of an offender, so when they act negligently and recklessly and cause an injury, they may be able to be held liable for those actions.
Each police station has their own guidelines that determine what is allowed and considered acceptable in a high-speed chase, so your case will depend on those guidelines and if they broke their station’s rules. If they broke those rules, you’ll be better able to prove that their negligent or reckless actions were the direct cause of your injuries.
Depending on the situation, you could also have the right to file a claim against the offender who the police were chasing at the time of your injury.
Krzak Rundio Law Group Is Here for You
If you’ve suffered from an injury as a result of a high-speed police chase, you may feel as though your injuries are completely unfair and that you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. At Krzak Rundio Law Group in Chicago, we know how to handle your case and will fully investigate the police and perpetrator’s actions to determine who should be held responsible for your injuries.
Reach out to our office today for a free consultation so we can discuss your potential claim.