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Answers To Common Questions About Police Chase Accidents

Chicago streets are densely populated with cars, bicyclists and pedestrians at nearly all times of the day and night. There is simply no allowance for reckless and unpredictable drivers – even if those drivers are police officers.

In recent years, Chicago Police Department officers have caused or been involved in a number of serious and fatal car accidents while pursuing suspects. In response to justified public outrage, Illinois law enforcement agencies (and CPD specifically) have updated their policies regarding police pursuits of suspects. Some common questions are answered below.

When are police chases considered necessary, and when should they be abandoned?

Engaging in a car chase poses a danger to everyone in the area. Therefore, police need to quickly make a judgment call to determine if the need to catch a fleeing suspect is great enough to justify the serious dangers posed by the pursuit itself. In many cases, the answer should be “no.”

CPD officers are prohibited from giving chase for a nonhazardous traffic offense, for instance. Additionally, they are supposed to call off the pursuit as soon as the suspect disregards traffic signs and signals or otherwise begins driving hazardously.

What do police need to do to minimize danger to the public during a chase?

There are numerous safety requirements that police must follow to significantly reduce the risk of injuring or killing others. These include:

  • Police cannot travel in the wrong direction on a divided highway without specific authorization.
  • When approaching intersections, police must slow down and check to see that their path is clear.
  • Generally, only well-marked police vehicles should initiate pursuits. Semi-marked cars, unmarked cars and motorcycles should only do so when directed or when assessing an “imminent threat” from the suspect.

Typically, the suspect-stopping techniques they are allowed to use will depend on the speed of travel, the assessed threat that the suspect poses and other environmental factors.

Am I entitled to compensation if I am injured or a loved one is killed in a crash with a police officer who is chasing a suspect?

You can and should seek compensation after a police chase car accident. Whether or not your claim is ultimately successful will depend on a number of factors. Sometimes, accidents are justified and dismissed as simply collateral damage stemming from necessary police actions. Attorney James D. Montgomery Jr. will investigate the details of your case to determine if officers violated pursuit protocols or otherwise put you in unnecessary danger. If so, you may be entitled to compensation.

Can the chased suspect be sued?

In many cases, the suspect’s actions would be considered negligent driving, and they could be named in a lawsuit. This is something to explore with the help of your attorney.

What should I do if the police claim they weren’t actually chasing me before my crash?

It is common for police to try and avoid liability after a crash in which they were chasing you, which is why they will often claim they were not chasing you at the time of the crash. They may even go as far as turning off their lights and sirens in an effort to claim they were not pursuing you. If you believe that police have conducted a serious error, contact an attorney immediately. Do not make the mistake of letting the police talk you out of consulting with a lawyer.

How can I prove the police were lying about the crash?

There are two common forms of evidence that can corroborate your statements. Police cars often have a dashcam that would have likely recorded evidence of the crash, as well as having a body cam on their person. Additionally, surveillance cameras are everywhere, making it likely that a nearby shop or property has video footage of your crash.

What if the police didn’t follow the rules during the chase and caused a crash?

If the police were acting outside of their regulations or the law, you might have grounds to file a case against them. No one is above the law, and every police officer must adhere to the policies and orders of their police department. A skilled attorney can help you review your case, determine if there are grounds to file a claim against the police, and help you hold them accountable for their actions.

Contact The Firm To Discuss Your Rights And Legal Options

Police pursuits are sometimes necessary, but that doesn’t mean police shouldn’t face consequences when they injure or kill innocent bystanders. To discuss your personal injury case with an experienced attorney who will fight for you, contact Montgomery Law Firm LLC by calling 872-285-7065. You can also reach the firm online.