On Friday, November 1, 2019
, at approximately 4 a.m., a brief police pursuit on the 101 Freeway concluded in a rollover crash
. The crash occurred near Echo Park Lake. The pursuit had only been going on for a couple of minutes (approximately 3 minutes) when police lost sight of the vehicle
. Just a few instances later, the police were alerted of an Infinity SUV that had crashed and rolled over near the ramp on Rampart Boulevard.
The fire department responded to the scene and extricated the occupants of the vehicle – which were robbery suspects. Three of the occupants were pronounced dead at the scene. A fourth occupant of the vehicle suffered critical injuries and was transported to a local hospital – this suspect has since been listed as in stable condition.
All suspects were believed to be in their 20s or 30s.
According to information on the robbery that eventually led to the fatal accident, as many of 12 people entered a shoe store
, located on Sunset Boulevard and Lemoyne Street, filling bags with merchandise. The 12 suspects fled the scene in three separate vehicles – one of which was an Infinity SUV that rolled over
In the incident mentioned above, only the suspects being pursued by the police were harmed. However, police chases can potentially cause harm to unrelated parties, including but not limited to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers. If these parties are injured, they might have grounds to seek legal action – against both the suspects leading the pursuit and the police department (under certain circumstances).
If you were harmed as a result of a police pursuit as a pedestrian, bicyclist, or driver
, you might have grounds to file a claim. Depending on the details of the incident and the harm that you suffered, you could take legal action for the harm that you suffered.
To learn more about whether you have the right to sue for the harm that you suffered as a direct result of a police pursuit, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with the experts at our firm at your earliest convenience. At Downtown L.A. Law Group, our firm has many years of experience handling all sorts of claims and always representing the best interests of all victims. If you were the innocent victim of a police pursuit, you might have grounds to file a claim – for more information, contact our firm today.
Call (888) 649-7166 to set up a free, no obligation consultation to find out if you have a case.
Pursuits Could Result in Incidents
According to the Los Angeles Times, 1 in 10 car police pursuits (strictly LAPD chases) from 2006 to 2014 resulted in civilian injuries. Based on information provided by the California Highway Patrol, approximately 17% of car chases in Los Angeles County within a 12-month period (beginning in October 2015) resulted in a crash that could have caused injury or death. Throughout the same 12-month period, three fleeing suspects were killed and 45 people were injured (including suspects, passengers, and officers). As mentioned above, 1 in 10 police pursuits lead to civilian injuries; this translates to 334 civilians being injured within the eight to 334 civilians being injured within the eight year period.
There is no doubt that police pursuits could result in car accidents, bicycle accidents, and even pedestrian accidents. Police pursuits could also result in significant property damage. Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the incident, the innocent parties affected might have grounds to take legal action against the police department.
Liability for Incidents arising from Police Pursuits
Under California Vehicle Code § 17004.7
, law enforcement agencies with pursuit policies have governmental immunity to shield them from any liability for the damages caused during pursuits – specifically to the parties being pursued. For example, in 2015, police responded to a report of a robbery at gunpoint; they attempted to stop a vehicle but it fled. The pursuit went on for a few minutes when the PIT maneuver was conducted – the vehicle lost control and slammed into a street light. The passenger in the vehicle died due to his injuries. A wrongful death claim
was brought force against the police department, specifically Irma Ramirez v. City of Gardena. However, the court held that the police department had no liability for the incident.
So, the police aren’t liable for any harm that fleeing suspects suffer, but what about liability in different situations?
- All drivers have a duty of care towards others on or near the road. During a police chase, fleeing drivers are negligently and recklessly putting other parties on and near the road at risk of harm. Whether the fleeing driver is speeding, squeezing through cars, ignoring traffic signals, or doing anything else that fleeing drivers do during car chases, innocent bystanders are put at risk. Whenever innocent bystanders are harmed by a fleeing suspect/vehicle during a chase, the fleeing suspect will likely be liable for the harm suffered.
- All police officers also owe a duty of care to bystanders. Because of this, it is common for police pursuits to come to an abrupt end once it is determined that continuing the chase would be too dangerous. Police officers must ensure that they do not unreasonably cause harm to others. They must assess each individual situation to determine a way to continue without putting others at an unnecessary risk of injury. If the police fails to exercise caution during a pursuit (exercises recklessness, negligence, and general disregard for the safety of others), the police could be liable for any harm that they cause to innocent bystanders.
If you were harmed as an innocent bystander during a police chase – whether you were directly harmed by the fleeing suspect or by police – you might have grounds to pursue a claim for the harm that you suffered. For more information, you should seek legal assistance immediately.
You Could Sue
As explained above, the fleeing suspect as well as the police could both contribute to the harm that innocent bystanders suffer. Depending on the circumstance, either a fleeing suspect or a police officer (or the entire police department) could be liable for the harm that bystanders suffer during a police pursuit. This means that innocent bystanders could have the right to sue for the harm that they suffered.
Yes; you could have the right to sue, and you could even have the right to recover monetary compensation depending on the details of your claim. Although there is no guarantee, you could be eligible to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, loss of consortium, funeral and burial costs, and punitive damages, for example.
For more information about your right to sue and your right to receive compensation, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with our experts immediately.
Learn more about your options for compensation by calling (888) 649-7166.
Claims are Subject to Strict Timelines
All claims are subject to deadlines to sue – statutes of limitations. A statute of limitations establishes the length of time that claimants have to file their claims
. If claimants do not file within the appropriate timeframe, they will lose their right to sue. Typically, personal injury claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations.
However, if you are filing a claim against the police department, your claim will be subject to stricter deadlines. For example, to file against LAPD, based on California Government Code Section 911.2(a), “a claim – for death or for injury to person or to personal property- shall be presented – not later than six months after the accrual of the cause of action.” This must first be filed with the government agency. If the claim is denied, claimants will have the opportunity to file in civil court, and a two-year statute of limitations would apply.
To avoid losing the right to sue and ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the applicable statute of limitations, it is essential that you discuss your claim with an expert.
Downtown L.A. Law Group
At Downtown L.A. Law Group
, we are dedicated to representing the best interests of innocent parties harmed by the negligent actions of others. Whether you were harmed by the fleeing suspect or by the police, you can trust that our lawyers will represent you and guide you towards recovering the compensation that you deserve. Have you thought about seeking legal assistance but worried about legal costs? If you contact our law firm, you can be certain that you will never have to worry about legal costs.
Specifically, our firm offers free legal services – which include free consultations and free second opinions
. During these free legal services our lawyers will be available to answer all your questions and address all your concerns. Our lawyers will provide you with all the information that you need to guide you towards either starting or continuing/redirecting your claim. These free legal services are available as part of our Zero-Fee guarantee, a guarantee that our clients will never be required to pay any upfront legal fees for any of our legal services. Because our firm is also based on contingency, our clients will not be required to pay anything until after reaching a successful claim outcome. If you are ready to discuss your claim with our lawyers after you or a member of your family (as bystanders) suffered harm related to a police pursuit, do not hesitate to contact our firm