In March 2016, San Antonio police officers saw a truck speeding near Hackberry and Commerce Street and identified it as a vehicle that they had been searching for in another case. They started chasing it but soon realized that they had misidentified the vehicle and ended the chase near Whittier. The truck, however, kept going at high speed and eventually collided with two other vehicles, causing serious injuries to four people (including the truck driver). Incidents of misidentification like these can cause a lot of confusion and anxiety and can lead to fatal accidents. Even in cases where the police are chasing the correct suspects, innocent people can be hurt. Another incident took place in the same month in Harris County, Houston when an alleged carjacker slammed his car into an innocent civilian’s car during a police chase.
High-speed police chases might look exciting in movies but in real life they can be life threatening, not only for the people involved but also for people near or around the chase. A study, published in 2007, looked at police pursuit fatalities between 1982 and 2004 and showed that innocent bystanders accounted for 27% of all police chase deaths. Interestingly, most police pursuits are initiated in response to non-violent crimes such as car theft, drunk driving or traffic law violations. Crimes like these usually take place in crowded streets or heavy traffic areas which means that many people are at risk for being hit by either a police vehicle or the suspect’s vehicle, or being shot mistakenly. Police departments are aware of the risks of these cases and try to avoid them but they cannot ignore their duty to enforce law in most situations.
When a fatal car accident occurs, negligence of each party involved is assessed. Accidents, where police and crime suspects are involved, can be particularly tricky to handle as you are dealing with a law enforcement entity and because the incident happened unexpectedly, in a matter of seconds. Many people shy away from demanding compensation for the damage/loss caused to them or their loved one because they do not know how to legally maneuver the situation. With the help of expert legal representation, the innocent person who was hurt or his/her family can file a claim against the fleeing suspect or the police department (responsible) for being negligible and for creating an unsafe hazard for motorists (respectively). It is important to determine whether or not the police acted properly during the chase. Every police department has guidelines, which must be followed to protect the public during a high-speed chase. Clearly, this is information that they won’t want to provide to the innocent victim.
To present a strong legal argument of this nature, you need to take your case to a police chase accident attorney in Texas, who knows what the state laws are if such an incident occurs. At Rad Law Firm, we can help you with your claim. Our experienced attorneys can determine if the police acted appropriately and what insurance might be available to you for your damages. Don’t make a bad situation worse by trying to work through this alone. Our experienced attorneys are ready and able to help you get through this and to get you results. Contact Rad Law today at our Austin, Brownsville, Dallas or Fort Worth office for a free consultation.