Police departments in California do a good job of keeping the public safe when involved in a high-speed pursuit. However, accidents still happen, and some of them leave innocent victims with severe injuries.
You may think you have few, if any, legal options if a police car collides with you while they’re chasing a suspect. However, you can find a solution, especially with legal guidance.
Under what conditions can you sue the police for accident injuries?
A law enforcement agency is a public entity and therefore exempt from personal injury lawsuits in many cases. However, two California legal codes address public entity liability for negligence resulting in injury.
Vehicle code 21055: An emergency vehicle operator (in this case, a law enforcement officer) may remain immune from a lawsuit if the injury occurred as an officer was responding to an emergency. However, the code also states that emergency vehicles should display lights and use a siren to warn the public of any danger. Failure to do so could be grounds for a lawsuit if they cause a crash.
Vehicle code 17001: This code offers additional guidance for those injured in a police vehicle chase. It states that public entities could be liable for victim injuries if an employee operated a vehicle negligently or wrongfully.
Police officers undergo rigorous training that addresses all areas of their service, including when and when not to initiate high-speed chases. If you and your legal counsel can prove that a police officer acted negligently when pursuing a suspect, you could be able to obtain compensation.
We recommend learning more about car accidents and public entity liability to find out if you have a valid claim against a government entity or an employee.