When police violate departmental policies, chases can lead to wrongful death cases
Losing a loved one due to wrongful death can be devastating. While wrongful deaths can happen through a number of different circumstances, they can be even more shocking when they occur at the hands of law enforcement. For example, an innocent bystander may be hit by a driver speeding to get away from a police car in a high-speed chase. There are even cases in which the chased suspect ends up being killed in pursuit.
The Miami-Dade Police Department is making efforts to reduce the number of car chases by ensuring police officers follow departmental policy. According to statistics from the department, there is a 63 percent chance of police car chases in Miami-Dade County resulting in crashes. While members of law enforcement have to do their job, they cannot be reckless. To help prevent this, many departments have instituted departmental rules and policies that provide a framework as to when and why a high-speed pursuit should be engaged and when one should be terminated. If their officers violate traffic laws and/or policies, the city or municipality can be liable for damages.
Police pursuits are usually dangerous. They can result in serious bodily injury, property damage, and, in the worst of cases, wrongful death when lives are lost. However, personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits that stem from vehicle pursuits can be challenging, as the law is generally slated to protect police officers acting within their scope of duty. More than that, Florida has caps of $200,000 in compensation in these cases — barring unusually circumstances that require the Florida Legislature to pass a claims bill.
The Miami-Dade Police Department and several others have recently worked to enforce stricter policies to reduce vehicle pursuits for minor crimes. Police car chases may be necessary to apprehend absconding criminals. However, it simply does not make sense to use them to catch fleeing suspects in nonviolent crimes and risk the lives of others as collateral damage.
If you have a police chase personal injury lawsuit, contact me to learn how I can help you get justice for you and your loved ones. I have helped people all over this state bring claims against individual officers and municipalities for high speed pursuit that results in injury or death.