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Police Officers Are Not Immune From Liability for Injuries Caused During Police Pursuits

Richland County Personal Injury Attorneys Fight for Victims Injured During Police Pursuits

The personal injury attorneys at The Solomon Law Group are committed to fighting for your just compensation if you or someone you love was injured during or as a result of a police pursuit. The personal injury advocates at The Solomon Law Group have the experience and the dedication to fight for you against the police if you were injured during a police pursuit.

Police in South Carolina are not given blanket protection from harming innocent by-standers during police pursuits. Rather, the police have limited immunity from causing harm. The police are not responsible to third-parties for ordinary negligence, which occurs when their conduct was not reasonable under the circumstances that caused harm to a by-stander. However, the police may be held accountable for “gross negligence.” The definition of gross negligence comes from the case of Clark v. South Carolina Department of Public Safety, found at 608 S.E. 2d 573 (2005). In Clark, the Court ruled that an injured by-stander must prove that the officer failed to use the “slightest degree of care” or that the “person is so indifferent to the consequences of his conduct as not to give slight care as to what he is doing.”

An experienced personal injury lawyer, such as those at The Solomon Law Group, understands what evidence is needed to prove gross negligence. He or she knows the importance of conducting a thorough investigation and discovering as much about the police officer and his department as possible in order to prove your case. Skilled trial lawyers will use the results of their investigation at trial to prove to the jury that the officer or their department was grossly negligent in performing the actions that led to the harm.

There are many factors for a jury to consider when deliberating about whether the officer acted with gross negligence. The jury will consider the offense or offenses for which the officer tried to stop the fleeing driver. Furthermore, evidence of how the pursuit was conducted is critically important. For instance, in the Clark case the pursuing state trooper called out to dispatch that he was concerned that the driver of the van he was pursuing was going to “wreck.” Two officers continued the high speed chase even after the van ran a red light and narrowly missed another motorist. Additionally, the pursuit was nearing the North Carolina border, which would force the troopers to terminate their pursuit at the state line. Despite knowing all of that information, the police continued their pursuit. Unfortunately the fleeing driver crossed the center line, slammed head-on into and killed a young woman innocently driving the opposite way.

In addition to presenting evidence of the officer’s gross negligence in the specific incident that resulted in serious harm, dedicated personal injury attorneys will look for other evidence of gross negligence as well. The attorneys at The Solomon Law Group know that the pursuing officer’s supervisors must closely monitor the chase and know when to call off the pursuit. The supervisors must insure that their subordinate officers are following their department’s standard operating procedures for high speed chases. The department’s procedure itself must be drafted to ensure the safety of the public. The department is grossly negligent if its pursuit policy is inadequate or the supervisors failed to monitor and advise subordinate officers appropriately.

Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Will Fight for You

The seasoned personal injury advocates at The Solomon Law Group will fight for your rights and work tirelessly for you if you or a loved one was an innocent by-stander injured or killed in a police pursuit. Call us today at 803-219-8870 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help make a difference for you.

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