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Damage compensation after Pittsburgh police pursuit ends with multiple vehicle crash.

Pennsylvania – December 14, 2022

After a police pursuit in downtown Pittsburgh two people were arrested in connection with an active federal drug warrant.  The scene of engagement was a gas station at Beechwood Boulevard and Browns Hill Road when officers approached the vehicle where the warrant suspect was, and they fled onto the parkway after almost striking a detective.  During the police pursuit the vehicle of the men who fled struck or sideswiped two to three vehicles before exiting the Parkway and crashing on Fort Pitt Boulevard and Stanwix Street.  The two were arrested and taken to Allegheny Jail and their vehicle was being processed for narcotics.

Police pursuit resulting in crash.

Police pursuits can end in tragic circumstances. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 532 people (including three “occupants of a police vehicle”) died in police pursuits in 2020. At least one, and as many as 10, occupants of police vehicles have died during pursuits each year since the mid-1980s. More than 5,000 bystanders and passengers were killed in car chases between 1979 and 2013, according to one study. Accidents involving excessive speed during a police chase are why certain rules have been changed to back off when a police chase seems like it will cause substantial danger to other roadway commuters.

If a police chase results in property damage, injury, or death, the parties who may bear responsibility for damage compensation may include:

  • Drivers who undertake illegal activities. All motor vehicle operators owe a duty of care to other roadway travelers.  Reckless driving during a police chase can be viewed as a breach of that duty and drivers can be named as parties in a lawsuit if a subsequent crash causes harmful injury, property damage, or loss of life.
  • Police officers and departments. While it may be harder to build a case against law enforcement agencies if they were engaging in activities to make the public safe as part of their job, it is possible to sue for injury caused by a police chase. If state or local law enforcement personnel in Pennsylvania do not follow specific department policies, and loss occurs, crash victims, and even the offenders themselves, can file legal action.
  • Government employers. States and municipalities can be held liable for pursuit crash damages depending on the circumstances, such as lack of officer training leading them to dismiss departmental policy safeguards.

Insurance laws.

The State of Pennsylvania uses both a “no-fault” system and a 3rd party liability system. Drivers also have the right to circumvent Pennsylvania’s no-fault law and proceed directly against the at-fault driver under certain circumstances that result in serious injury. “Auto death indemnity” is a no-fault auto insurance coverage that offers a death benefit to drivers, or their passengers in the worst-case scenario, and families should speak to a lawyer about this.

Damage compensation.

Compensation for a property damage, wrongful death, or injuries resulting from a car accident is in a family, or injured party’s reach to assist in the payment of any significant property damages, medical expenses, loss of wages, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering, but actions must be initiated within the two-year statute of limitations.

Seek legal counsel.

If you have experienced harms to property or person in a Pittsburgh car accident caused by police pursuit, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Scanlon & Wojton for assistance with a personal injury claim. They can help navigate a claim with the insurance company of the at fault driver or initiate a legal case when warranted.

Scanlon & Wojton, Attorneys at Law

The Mitchell Building
304 Ross Street, Second Floor
Pittsburgh, Pa 15219

Phone: (412) 918-1241

Fax: (412) 235-7275

Sources:

  1. Police: 2 arrested after pursuit leads to crash in downtown Pittsburgh – WPXI
  2. https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.085.053.000..HTM
  3. https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.071.002.000..HTM
  4. https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.055.024.000..HTM
  5. NHTSA | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

 

 

 

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