Hartford Police Chase Accident Lawyer

A police car with an open driver side window stopped by the roadside after a lengthy chase.Police chases endanger everyone, especially innocent bystanders who get snared up in these hectic pursuits. Law enforcement has actually gone down the path of discouraging high-speed pursuits, but chases can and do still happen, nevertheless.

Those who are injured in a police chase may find recourse through an injury claim with the help of an experienced Hartford injury attorney team. Bert McDowell Injury Law has helped thousands in Hartford and throughout Hartford when seeking to recover from the financial and medical effects of their accident.

Our goal is to vigorously assert your legal rights towards claiming compensation, pursuing all possible sources of liability in order to seek the full amount of damages you have suffered.

Depending on the circumstances of your police chase accident, your injury costs may be covered by the city of Hartford, by the Connecticut State Police, by the motorist who initiated the chase, or by any number of other parties.

Things can get complicated quickly, and government offices have very strict rules for seeking claims, so be sure to refer to an experienced attorney so that your claim has the highest possible chances of success.

Learn more about your legal rights to pursue compensation and other key factors that could affect your case when you call (203) 633-7449 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

Who Can a Hartford Police Chase Accident Attorney Go After for My Damages?

After an accident, the question of who holds liability is always answered by looking at which party or parties committed negligent acts, thereby causing the accident to happen.

Under this test, government entities can hold liability just as much as private citizens do.

However, these entities also have more protections, including defenses against the scrutiny of individual decisions they made within established guidelines. In other words, it can be much harder to sue a government entity than your typical motor vehicle driver.

With this in mind, know that the following parties could be named in your injury claim for damages after being hurt in a police chase accident.

The City of Hartford

Local law enforcement operates as a contingency of the municipal government. Their budget is set by that government, and oversight ultimately comes down to a range of both publicly elected officials and hired government workers.

When police inflict substantial damages through clear acts of negligence or wrongful behavior, the city’s government could be named in an injury claim for damages — or even sued.

Notice of claims against the city for injury and damages should be filed with the Risk Management Division.

The State of Connecticut

Connecticut’s interstates and other major highways are patrolled by State Police. Like local police, these individuals are technically government employees.

When their acts cause harm to others, those affected have the right to pursue an injury claim.

The Suspect Who Triggered the Chase

By most measures, criminals fleeing are the ones who make police chases necessary in the first place. Because they triggered the initial dangerous situation, they could be determined at fault for certain accidents that happen as a result of the pursuit.

They are especially likely to hold liability if they hit someone — a person or a vehicle.

Unfortunately, many criminal suspects don’t have the mandatory level of insurance to cover liability for bodily injuries. Worse, those who do have coverage may have that coverage denied when an accident is connected to their criminal acts.

Because of this risk, injury victims are often left to consider other legal options after getting hurt in a police chase.

Other Drivers Involved

While police chases are scary and confusing, the public is supposed to know how to react to emergency vehicles. If anyone who encounters a police chase fails to either pull over or otherwise act properly in response to the situation and, as a result, hits someone, they could end up covering a claim for the subsequent damages.

Vehicle Manufacturers, Property Owners, Etc

In rare instances, a police chase accident is actually the result of a defective vehicle, a hazardous roadway, a negligent property owner’s failure to maintain their public roadways or other situations.

Your attorney will review all possibilities before helping you pursue the course of action that is most likely to result in full recovery of your damages.

Government Claims Are Challenging, With Tight Deadlines

One of the biggest concerns in an injury claim that names a government entity is that these entities get to set their own rules for claims.

While a typical injury claim in Connecticut has a two-year statute of limitations, claims against the government have the following time restrictions:

  • You must file a notice of a claim against a municipality with the appropriate office within six months (CT General Statutes Ch97 § 7-101a(d))
  • You must file a notice of a claim against the state of Connecticut with the State Claims Commissioner within one year (CT General Statutes Ch53 § 4-148)

Additionally, you will need to demonstrate how the actions of the state or municipal agent either violated a clear standard of conduct or otherwise committed an act of demonstrable negligence. The burden of proof on these claims can be quite high, as judges presiding over such cases are prone to dismiss them for nearly any reason.

Claimants will need to prepare their claims quickly and with substantial evidence of both cause and damages. Further, they will likely need to be familiar with state laws, local laws, law enforcement guidelines, and case law in relation to liability for injuries and other torts by governmental entities.

Attorneys can aid you with the knowledge needed to weigh your options and prepare a solid claim within the expected time window. They can also help you anticipate common reasons for cases like yours to be dismissed, such as because of a lack of proof of true negligence on the part of the police department or an individual officer.

Are Police Chases Allowed in Hartford?

Over the past few decades, public opinion on police chases has somewhat soured. There has been a reconciliation in what was an appropriate response to a criminal suspect fleeing — especially when weighing the potential risks versus the benefits of a high-speed pursuit.

Accordingly, police departments have become more strict on when and why police chases are allowed. That said, it is up to every municipality to determine guidelines for police pursuits, especially when it concerns criteria for breaking off a chase that could be dangerous.

In Hartford, police, unfortunately, have a wide range of discretion in initiating and continuing a police chase.

A study of municipal police pursuit policies by the Connecticut General Assembly noted that Hartford’s police chase policy has not changed significantly since 1985. It is the only major city that allows officers to continue pursuit of motorists who seem to be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance if the suspect is deemed to pose a public safety threat.

At the same time, Hartford’s policy stipulates that a pursuit should be broken off when:

  • Visual contact with the subject of the pursuit is lost
  • A superior officer commands the pursuit to be halted
  • Road conditions mean that pursuit could pose a significant threat of injury or death to anyone, including the suspect

Despite these guidelines, deadly pursuits are still common in Hartford, with one very recent example ending in the death of a suspect. While police are advised to avoid actions that could put public safety at risk, they often let their own sense of authority guide their decisions, leading to pursuits that heighten the danger rather than lessen it.

What to Do if You Were Hurt in a Police Chase Accident

If you have been hurt in a collision resulting from or connected to a pursuit of a suspect by state or local police, make sure to take the following steps:

  • Report the accident. While police may be partially to blame for your injury, they are the only government body authorized to respond to accidents and to record a crash report. You will need to document the incident and have evidence gathered in order to proceed with a claim.
  • Seek immediate medical attention. No matter how hurt you feel, it’s critical to receive a medical diagnosis and begin treatment. Don’t delay this step! Doing so could risk your ability to file a claim since it will become more challenging to connect your injuries to the date of the accident.
  • Watch what you say. Your crash is now the subject of an ongoing investigation. Avoid making definitive statements as to its cause or whether or not you may be hurt. Any statements you make can be used to challenge your claim.
  • Talk to an attorney before filing a notice of a claim. With such a tight window for starting your claim, you may feel pressured to go ahead and start the process. However, working with an attorney allows you to prepare all of the needed documentation while avoiding critical mistakes.

Fight for Your Right to Seek Due Compensation With a Hartford Police Chase Accident Law Firm

Bert McDowell and his injury law team are ready and fully prepared to do whatever it takes to pursue a claim for all the damages you have suffered. We aren’t intimidated by police or government offices, and we have the familiarity your case needs to minimize the risks of it being summarily dismissed.

Act quickly — before your window to file a claim expires! Reach out to the Hartford injury attorney team, which is ready to help you start fighting for every penny you need to recover from your accident.

Get started on filing your claim when you call (203) 633-7449 or contact us online to schedule your free case review and consultation with an experienced Hartford police chase accident lawyer.