The actions law enforcement officers take are supposed to improve safety for the general public while reducing potential harm. However, law enforcement officers are given wide discretion to use force and to take actions that would be illegal for others — including the option to give chase when a fleeing suspect is deemed worth pursuing.
While the city of Atlanta has effectively banned most forms of police car chases, this policy has not affected many police departments in surrounding counties, as well as Georgia State Patrol stations that monitor highways.
On top of this, many police officers will engage in pursuit and other dangerous actions contrary to policy. They may also perform acts of negligence in the course of duty.
Unfortunately, despite the reputation police officers have as a method of crime deterrent, their negligent actions can inflict serious harm to bystanders, passengers, and even fleeing suspects.
You deserve a fighting chance at recovering the damages you have experienced as a result of a reckless and dangerous police chase. Whether you were involved in the initial activity or were entirely innocent as a bystander, public officers can be and often are held accountable for the injuries they inflict.
Find out more about how you can pursue an injury claim against a police department or other at-fault parties during a free, no-obligation case review. Call 833-254-2923 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation today.
How Can I File an Injury Claim With the Help of an Atlanta Police Chase Accident Attorney?
In many cases, it can be extremely difficult to sue or request a settlement from a publicly funded and operated agency. However, Georgia laws (GA Code § 50-21-23) waive the state’s immunity from liability in certain cases.
These include cases where a law enforcement officer was acting in violation of policy or when the policies and expectations of a specific department, precinct, or agency run contrary to the operating principles and laws they are supposed to uphold. Further, in certain cases, Georgia law enforcement officers have been found liable for damages inflicted as a result of their own negligent acts while on duty.
On the other hand, if an officer is exercising their discretion under existing policies and using powers granted to them by the law, then they may not be held liable for the damages they cause in most situations. In other words, the government wants to avoid a situation where injured claimants are able to call an officer’s judgment or actions into question, so long as they are working within the scope of their duties.
It’s only when they fall outside that scope — committing acts they have been advised and trained against — that they open themselves up to an injury claim.
If all of this sounds complex, it very much is. Laws like these are tested every day in court and in rooms where arbitrations and other decisions take place.
Some seriously injured claimants had their claims dismissed or denied, only to prove that they were in the right after a successful appeal.
Get Help From an Experienced Police Chase Accident Legal Team
Ali Awad of the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm and his team are ready to help you exercise the full extent of your legal rights. We can represent you in a car accident claim related to a police chase any time you were:
An innocent bystander, including pedestrians and others on the road not involved with the crime or pursuit
Innocent passengers trapped in a fleeing vehicle
Individuals wrongfully targeted by police
Individuals whose civil rights were violated while being subject to police pursuit
Regardless of whether you were the suspect in a crime or someone totally uninvolved, you have legal rights. By proving that an officer used excessive force or made other needlessly dangerous decisions in violation of their duties, you can seek to recover all of the damages you have suffered from a police pursuit accident.
In some cases, bystanders and passengers may also be eligible to claim damages from a suspect if their negligent, criminal, or wrongful actions were found to have contributed or directly led to the injury. Determining who is liable, why, and in what percentage often requires the assistance of an experienced legal team.
What Damages Can Be Recovered From a Successful Police Chase Accident Injury Claim?
The damages sought in a police chase accident injury claim depend on the injuries you have suffered and other factors. Some of the most common types of damages retrieved through a successful injury claim include:
Money for medical bills, past and future
Replacement of lost wages and other forms of lost income
Compensation for other out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the accident
Pain and suffering damages
Funeral and burial expenses and loss of companionship for wrongful death claims
When Is an Officer Liable for Causing Injuries in a Police Chase?
Georgia laws and other policies give police and other law enforcement officers broad powers to prevent crimes and pursue suspects. GA Code §40-6-6, for example, allows officers to:
Exceed maximum speed limits, provided it won’t “endanger life or property”
Run stop signs, red lights, and other traffic signals after slowing and determining that the action is reasonably safe
Ignore laws and other policies that would otherwise be considered an improper turn or other moving violation
Maneuver their vehicle in ways that ignore the flow of traffic or otherwise depart from the legal roadway, so long as it doesn’t pose unreasonable dangers
Any time an officer exercises their judgment when using these powers, it may be possible that they hurt someone despite fully obeying policies and applicable laws. On the other hand, many times, officers are found to have ignored guidelines meant to preserve public safety.
They may also commit acts of negligence unrelated to their goals and contrary to their training and the policies they are expected to obey.
Essentially, the question comes down to “Did they go outside the scope of their duties through their own actions?” Any time the answer is “yes,” the public is placed in harm’s way, and the offending party could potentially be held liable for the damages they inflict.
Making these determinations can be challenging, as they require deep knowledge of not just standing laws but also the legal theories behind them. Knowing about specific court cases that have tested immunity and created exemptions is also extremely important.
The need for specialized knowledge and experience is the biggest reason why it can benefit injury victims to seek out the services of a proven Atlanta police chase accident attorney team.
Police Chases Inflict Thousands of Injuries and Cost Lives Every Year
It may seem counterintuitive to some, but police chases can broadly inflict more harm than good when it comes to public safety. According to Atlanta Magazine, in 2021, over half (877) of the 1,610 pursuits that Georgia law enforcement agents engaged in resulted in crashes.
These incidents damaged 1,700 vehicles while leading to 248 injuries and 20 deaths — all in 2021 alone.
Unfortunately, police aren’t always pursuing the correct suspect, or their judgment causes them to place innocent members of the public in harm’s way. Even for suspects themselves, a pursuit can violate their civil liberties if officers use excessive force, deviate from the scope of their duties, or demonstrate gross negligence — sometimes at the precinct level.
The bottom line is that everyone deserves due process, and innocent lives should be protected. Police chases all too often end in wrecks that can injure, maim, and kill, frequently altering lives in ways that they would not have been had the suspect fled without pursuit.
That level of alarming frequency has taken a toll to the tune of an average of 355 persons killed annually in relation to police chases from 1996 – 2015.
Work With a Compassionate Atlanta Police Chase Accident Law Firm
Holding law enforcement accountable for police chase injuries can be challenging, but it is far from impossible. Your best bet as an injury victim is to consult with a legal professional with deep knowledge of when public officers and other government agents can assume liability so you can build as much evidence as possible and use the strongest legal arguments possible in order to maximize your chances of a successful claim.
One other factor that makes these cases difficult is the short time frame: you often have just six months from the date of an injury to make a claim. Your claim could face summary dismissal or other challenges from the legal system since many law enforcement agencies will use the assumption of immunity to avoid paying for the damages they inflict.
Act fast, and reach out to a proven attorney team to ensure that you’re able to do everything possible to build a claim with a high chance of success. Reach out to Ali Awad and his compassionate team for a free, no-obligation consultation today when you call 833-254-2923 or contact us online.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?
During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process.
Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today.
We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.