Who Is At Fault When the Police Are Involved?
Two motor vehicle accidents involving law enforcement occurred in Louisville in late July and early August. In the first, a Metro Police officer collided with another vehicle while responding to a shooting. In the next, a car chase led to multiple accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
The suspect in the latter crash was charged with murder, but what do these accidents mean for civil liability? Let’s break it down and find out.
Officer and 2 Others Injured in the Newburg Neighborhood
On Sunday, August 2, 2020, a police officer struck a vehicle headed westbound on Templewood Drive at the intersection of Robinhood Lane and Templewood Drive. According to a Metro Police department spokesman, the officer was responding to a shooting when the crash occurred around 2 p.m. In his haste, the officer failed to yield the right of way at the intersection’s stop sign resulting in a collision and one of the cars hitting a house.
The officer, along with the driver and passenger of the other vehicle, were transported to the University of Louisville Hospital with injuries.
Who Was At Fault?
When emergency vehicles have their emergency equipment on, other vehicles should yield right of way. Nevertheless, because the officer caused this accident, the police department may accept liability and pay for certain damages. ALSO, police departments and other law enforcement have policies and procedures related to when and how to conduct chases. Those policies and procedures have yet to be examined to the extent that results are made public.
Police Chase Ends in Deadly Crash
On August 5, whas11.com updated its story about a car chase and multiple crashes on Dixie Highway on July 27. Tragically, there were injuries and death that resulted from the crash. The suspect was arrested and charged with two counts of murder, assault, fleeing police, and receiving stolen property.
Shively Police originally responded to a domestic violence call at about 11:30 p.m. When they approached the suspect, who was in a truck, he sped off. The fleeing driver crashed into a car at the intersection of Dixie Highway and Crums Lane. A 44-year old passenger was ejected from the vehicle. Tragically, she succumbed to her injuries on the evening of August 4. Additionally, a 21-year-old man died at the hospital on August 3, and a 9-month-old baby was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
During the chase, the truck also hit another car with two adults and three children inside, causing minor injuries. The suspect, who was driving a stolen vehicle, fled, but his 17-year-old passenger was arrested.
Police later found the suspect in another stolen vehicle on the Watterson Expressway.
Who Was At Fault?
In this case, the driver of the stolen truck was clearly at fault for the accidents. In addition to his criminal charges, he may face civil liability. Because the suspect was driving a stolen vehicle, however, recovering damages from his insurance company lesser likely.
Still, victims may have other avenues for recovery. For example, an uninsured motorist policy can offer compensation when the at-fault driver is unable to pay for accident-related damages or had insurance that does not apply due to one or more policy exclusions. Additionally, depending on the circumstances and location of the chase, police may accept some liability.
Liability in car chases and other police-related accidents depends largely on the situation. Suspects will often be responsible for damages in car chases, but police departments sometimes accept liability when officers are involved in crashes.
If you’ve been injured by a police chase or other accidents with law enforcement, our Louisville lawyer can help you understand your legal options.