One type of car accident that many people never think of yet is actually a common occurrence is high-speed police chases. There are situations where law enforcement is forced to engage in a vehicle chase in order to apprehend a suspect. No matter how careful a police officer may be in these situations, there is always the risk that an innocent bystander will be injured. If you have been injured in a police chase, contact a Scottsdale, AZ car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have.
One of the most frequent reasons why high-speed police chases occur is an officer signals to a driver to pull over due to some traffic violation. The law requires every driver to pull over in a safe area and stop when they have been signaled by police to do so. Unfortunately, not every citizen obeys that law, and far too often, the driver takes off, forcing the officer to jump back in their police vehicle and follow.
The driver may have had outstanding warrants, have just committed or is in the process of committing a crime, or does not have a valid driver’s license. In many cases, the officer alerts dispatch of the issue, and other police vehicles may join the pursuit.
No matter how in control the police officer may be of his or her vehicle during a chase, there is still a danger to the general public. Many police chases take place in high traffic or population areas, including areas where there are schools, parks, and shopping plazas. Neither the driver being chased nor the police officers who are doing the chasing are adhering to speed limits or traffic signals and signs, but are instead speeding through lights, intersections, crosswalks, and generally driving too fast for road conditions. It is no wonder that, according to statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), there are more than 350 victims killed each year in police chase car accidents, and thousands more seriously injured.
As a Scottsdale, AZ car accident attorney can explain, under Arizona law, any vehicle occupant, pedestrian, cyclist, or other commuters can pursue damages for any losses they suffer if they are injured in a vehicle accident caused by another party. This includes high-speed police car chases. However, these cases are much more complex than regular car accident cases because there is a different process when you are suing government entities, such as police departments. Failure to follow this process can result in your claim being dismissed entirely. That is why any police chase accident victims should immediately contact a car accident lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ for legal assistance.