When a driver chooses to try to escape the police while behind the wheel, that driver puts not only themselves but also everyone around them in danger, as a recent car crash from Contra Costa County indicates. Sometimes, the law enforcement officers involved in the situation make errors of judgment that make the situation (and the potential for harm) worse. If you’ve been hurt as a result of a high-speed police chase or a driver fleeing the police, you may have various legal options depending on the particular facts of your case. To make sure you’re pursuing all the options available to you for compensation, make sure you have an experienced San Mateo accident attorney on your side.
According to a CBS San Francisco report, the Contra Costa County crash occurred after California Highway Patrol officers attempted to pull an Oakland man over for speeding on I-680. The man fled and exited the freeway, and the CHP terminated the pursuit.
Later that morning, Danville police spotted the vehicle and began a chase. The police allegedly broke off the chase when the driver sped down the wrong way of a one-way street. The driver lost control of his Lexus, hit another vehicle and then crashed into a tree. A pedestrian suffered injuries as a result of the crash, according to the report.
Thankfully, the pedestrian hurt in this incident did not suffer serious harm, according to CBS San Francisco. However, that’s not always the case. If you’ve been significantly hurt in one of these types of accidents, you could have multiple options for recovering compensation.
The most likely person to be liable is the driver who fled the police. That driver chose to evade the officers and, if in doing so, they operated their vehicle in a reckless or negligently unsafe manner, then they may be liable. Proving this can include evidence of speeding, going the wrong way down a one-way road or other reckless driving. In addition to physical evidence from the crash scene, proof of a citation from the police may further strengthen your liability case against this driver.
Seeking additional compensation from your own insurer…
Many times, that driver is someone who may not have valid insurance, or have only minimal coverage. When that happens and your harm exceeds the limits of that driver’s insurance, then you may have the potential to recover compensation from your own insurance company, depending on the specifics of your insurance policy’s underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage.
While your insurer’s TV commercials may state how neighborly they are, many injured people find that getting the payout they deserve after they file a claim with their insurer is actually extremely complicated and difficult. The right legal representation can help you cut through the barriers your insurer has erected and protect you when your insurer is not properly forthcoming in paying your claim.
…or perhaps the police, as well
Of course, you may also wonder… what about situations where the police did not break off the chase and were an active participant in the accident?
In many situations, the law of immunity will protect the police from liability in these kinds of crashes. That immunity is not absolute, though. If you can discover proof that the police department did not establish and enforce policies for safe conduct during vehicle chases that were in compliance with the state’s minimum standards (meaning either they had no standards at all or they had standards that were below the state minimum requirement,) then you possibly may be able to sue the police. Alternately, if the police department didn’t give their officers regular training regarding the safe way to handle the pursuit of fleeing drivers, then that evidence potentially may open the door for you to pursue the police in court.
Getting the most from a case where you were hurt by a driver fleeing the police involves a lot of things. It includes experience and skill in conducting careful and detailed discovery. It also demands an in-depth understanding of the law. To make sure you have all of that and more in your pedestrian accident case, look to the experienced San Mateo accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.