Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler November 15, 2016

We often hear, see or read news reports about police chases, when police vehicles pursue suspects on our roads. But have you encountered one in your own driving? And if such a chase caused a crash which injured you or a passenger, what then? What rights do people have after car accident injuries during police chases?

That may depend on the circumstances of the crash. For one thing, your own vehicle could be struck by the pursued vehicle, by a police vehicle or by another innocent bystander’s vehicle which perhaps swerved to avoid being hit in the police chase.

At any rate, injuries in police chases are a serious problem. According to USA Today, over 5,000 bystanders and passengers have been killed and many more thousands have been injured in police car chases since 1979. Such chases involved police pursuing drivers “at high speeds and in hazardous conditions, often for minor infractions.”

Recent Police Chase Crashes in Texas

In Fort Worth, Texas recently — on Nov. 7, 2016 — a police chase of a stolen vehicle ended in a six-car pileup which injured eight people.

A suspect in the chase and another person in that vehicle were seriously injured. Three persons in other cars had minor injuries, and three other persons were treated and released at the crash site on Fort Worth’s north side. Police expect to file charges against the driver of the stolen vehicle.

In Houston last spring, another innocent person was injured after a police chase. The chase began after a carjacking at gunpoint near Wafer Street and Southmore Avenue in Pasadena. Police located and pursued the stolen truck, which later slammed into a vehicle in northeast Harris County.

The innocent driver in that vehicle and one of the suspects in the stolen truck were seriously injured. The second suspect in the truck was arrested. The two suspects later faced charges.

What About Innocent Victims?

But what about the innocent victims? Who can they hold liable for their injuries?

Payments for such injuries cannot be sought from a person whose vehicle was stolen and then involved in a crash. Most auto insurance policies have exclusions for vehicles which are used without the owner’s permission, as in a stolen vehicle chase.

Further, car thieves are unlikely to have purchased auto liability insurance.

That can leave innocent victims with few legal options — unless they have made sure that their own auto insurance policy includes uninsured motorists coverage and underinsured motorists coverage.

Such coverage means you can seek payments for you injury losses from your own insurance company, even though you were not at fault in a police chase that ended in a crash causing you injury.

Can Police Be Held Liable?

Of course, all this presumes that the only persons facing liability for police chase injuries are the wrongdoers who were being pursued. But can police also be held liable for injuries from a police chase crash, whether or not a police vehicle causes the injuries?

For the most part, law officers have broad powers to carry out their duties. However, police may have some liability for injuries in a crash after a chase.

All police forces have internal protocols or protocols set by law for when a car chase can or cannot be continued. These protocols involve the area of the chase, the speed of the chase and other conditions.

For most police forces, such protocols state that if the chase endangers the public, the police should back off.  When they do not back off and a chase leads to a crash, police can face liability for any injuries from the crash if it’s determined that police should have known the chase would endanger the public.

Police Chase Injury Lawsuit

Liability in any such police chase injury lawsuit would be shared by the suspects in the vehicle fleeing police. After all, their actions also would have contributed to the crash. In an injury lawsuit, shared liability would mean payments by different parties, assuming it would be possible to gain payments from a criminal suspect.

Clearly, collecting payments for liability in such cases depends on the individual circumstances, and legal help is imperative. For help with your police chase injury claim, notify the experienced car accident lawyers with Jim Adler & Associates. You will quickly receive a free legal case review to help you decide which actions you should take.

Additional Resources:

Hit by an Uninsured Driver? What Happens Next?

What to Do After an Accident?

FREE Case Review

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Tori Barroga
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I am a Patrol Deputy for the Sheriff Office and while working one night, a drunk driver crossed the center stripe on the highway and struck my patrol vehicle head on with his pick up truck. Needless to say we (the drunk driver and I) were both lucky to survive, as the accident occurred at highway speeds. Following my release from the hospital, I knew that I would need to have someone represent me. My employer was happy to represent me in regards to prosecuting the driver for criminal charges but, can do little in respect to the recovery of financial losses for medical bills, pain and discomfort, time lost from work etc... This is how my relationship with Jim Adler and Associates began. Yep, you probably guessed correctly when you think of what made me choose the "Texas Hammer" to represent me. Those half obnoxious, half way entertaining commercials and radio announcements most Texans have been seeing and hearing on the TV and radio for years instantly came to mind. Yes, I wanted to "hammer" this S.O.B. for trying to kill me but, more importantly I was worried about the costs associated with the life long injuries I had sustained as a result of this drunk driver's negligent behavior. I contacted Jim Adler and Associates and so began our relationship. I was immediately surprised by the prompt attention and the expression of genuine concern for my well being that I received from the employees of Jim Adler's office. Now as you can imagine, lawyers are not a breed that is held in very high regard by people in my profession but, my experiences with Jim Adler's office and his employees have forced me to amend my way of thinking, at least on the civil side of the house anyway. I have to chuckle when I say that because my experience as a client of Jim Adler's firm has been exceptionally pleasant. So before I venture down one of the stereotypical and infinite number of rabbit holes associated with the relationship between members of law enforcement and lawyers; I will do my best to stay focused on my experience with Jim Adler & Associates. Upon being informed that my case had been accepted by Jim Adler's office; I was contacted by Iris Sanchez who informed me that she was to be my case manager and any questions, comments and concerns could be directed to her. I was pleasantly surprised to receive regular calls from Iris assisting with my medical appointments and future follow up appointments. Iris had informed me that Jim Adler's son, Bill Adler would be handling my case and I was even more surprised to receive several calls from Bill to discuss my case. Now you might be thinking "what's the big deal" with the person who is representing you contacting you? In reality, you are correct in that it isn't a big deal but, what is noteworthy and what separates Jim Adler's Office from the multitude of other lawyers is the genuine expressions of concern and the desire Bill Adler conveyed to me to do their best to help me. I felt an immediate connection and instantly realized I had made the correct choice in contacting Jim Adler & Associates to handle my case. One thing I think lawyers and police officers can agree on is the proverbial wheels of justice turn very slowly. Months go by and our professional relationship is never neglected. Through the unwavering attention of Iris Sanchez and Bill Adler himself, I never felt "out of the loop" so to speak and always had a clear understanding of where my case was at in regards to the legal process. In conclusion, I know my brief description of my experiences with Bill Adler and, his assistant Iris Sanchez, cannot provide the credit they deserve. Together they have done an outstanding job representing their firm/employer. If you are seeking a great firm to represent your legal interests and, take comfort in establishing a professional relationship that feels more like a friendship than a casual business acquaintance, then I highly suggest Jim Adler & Associates.read more
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