Police Pursuit Accidents and Liability

Residents and drivers in the greater Los Angeles area are no strangers to police chases. We seem to see one on the news on weekly basis! Have you ever wondered what happens in the cases when the driver trying to get away hits an immobile object or another car? Who’s at fault?

Is the Suspect in a Police Chase Liable?

Maybe . . . The suspect in a police chase may be liable for breaching the duty of care owed to others on the road, including pedestrians, cyclists, and fellow motorists.  If the suspect is negligent for failing to exercise the standard of reasonable care under the circumstances, he or she could be liable for damages caused by his/her actions. This would mean that: [1] the suspect had a duty to take risk-reducing precautions and to conform to a specific standard of conduct, [2] the suspect breached that duty by falling below the applicable standard of care, [3] the breach was the actual and proximate cause of injuries, and [4] someone suffered damages. If the suspect is violating traffic laws, or any other statute, regulation, or ordinance designed to protect others, and the violation was a substantial factor in causing injuries, the suspect may be liable under the negligence per se doctrine.