It isn’t uncommon for Los Angeles police to engage in high-speed chases throughout the city in their efforts to bring suspected criminals to justice. However, these car chases are exceedingly dangerous to the public and they cause numerous injuries every year.
In fact, the situation seems to be getting worse. In the last 10 years, 2015 was the most injurious in terms of innocent bystanders getting hurt by LAPD car chases. Even worse, Los Angeles police chase injuries are quadruple those in other areas of California.
Among the bystanders hurt in Los Angeles are drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who played no role in the actual police pursuit. According to city averages, approximately 45 bystanders a year suffer injury as a direct result of their police chases. In most of these situations, the fleeing individual’s vehicle crashes into a pedestrian or motorist, so the police themselves are not usually causing these injuries. However, experts point to the fact that LAPD’s dangerous suspect pursuit policy plays a vital, contributory role in these accidents.
According to the LAPD pursuit policy, officers can engage in a high-speed pursuit if they suspect individuals have committed a variety of crimes like vehicle theft, DWI and reckless driving, to name a few. In cases that involve intoxicated drivers, there is a higher chance that the impaired driver will get into a crash due to the inability to operate his or her vehicle safely while trying to escape.
Los Angeles residents who are hurt, simply because they were an innocent bystander caught up in a dangerous police pursuit, will likely have the right to pursue financial damages from a fleeing suspect who is at fault for their injuries. They may also be able to seek financial damages from the city for the poor decisions and dangerous practices of its officers.