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Wild Police Car Chase with Accident, Minor Injuries, Arrests

Rhode Island police car chase accident

RI police chase accident

There was recently a police chase in Salem Massachusetts (Ma).  A concerned citizen reported an incident of a motor vehicle driving erratically. The Salem police responded to the scene and located a motorist passed out behind the wheel of the Mercedes automobile. Incredibly, the auto was in drive and his foot was holding down the brake to the auto. When the police officer woke up the passed out man, the police allege that he took off down the road. The man allegedly was going at a high rate of speed down a dead end!

Rhode Island police chase accident

According to Boston CBS Local: “After turning around, police say Figueroa hit several parked cars to get around the first cruiser; drove off the road and over a snow embankment to get around a second cruiser that was responding; and slammed head-on into a third responding cruiser.” CBS After the head on crash with the police vehicle, the alleged criminal scofflaw accelerated and rammed the police cruiser nearly 15 feet to get away.

  • He  allegedly nearly ran over another police officer who was at the scene of the crash
  • He later collided into two other police cruisers who had responded to the scene of the wrecks.
  • The Salem Mass. police arrested the man and charged him with violating numerous Mass. criminal laws. He was “charged with Driving While Intoxicated, three counts of Reckless Conduct, Second Degree Assault, Possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, and Resisting Arrest or Detention.” Id.
  • Two police officers were injured in these accidents.

If these injuries and accidents occurred in Rhode Island, in all likelihood the officers would be barred from seeking damages as a result of their injuries pursuant to the Rhode Island “police officers rule” and “firefighters rule”. They would have great difficulty finding a Rhode Island personal injury attorney willing to pursue a the RI car accident case on their behalf.

Police officer’s negligence claims

These RI laws bars a police officer’s negligence claims when three elements have been met:

“(1) the officer was injured in the course of performing tasks relating to his or her employment, (2) the risk of injury was one that the officer could reasonably anticipate would arise in the dangerous situations that the officer’s employment typically required him or her to encounter, and (3) the alleged tortfeasor was the individual responsible for bringing the officer to the scene of a potential crime, fire, or other emergency where the injury then occurs. These elements have been satisfied in this case. ..” Day v. Caslowitz, 713 A.2d 758, 760 (R.I. 1998)  Source 

  • “The police officer’s rule,” like its progenitor, “the firefighter’s rule,” limits the general duty of care in negligence. The rule arose from the presumption that   “[p]ublic-safety officers are deemed ‘as a matter of law, [to] assume all normal risks inherent in their duties when they accept their positions * * *[,] ’” Day v. Caslowitz, 713 A.2d 758, 760 (R.I. 1998)

Common law for police chase

Liability in a police car chase can be a complex legal issue and may vary depending on jurisdiction. Generally, when a police car chase leads to an accident or injury, there are several factors that can influence liability:

  1. Department Policies: Police departments typically have specific pursuit policies in place. Officers are expected to follow these guidelines during a chase. If an officer deviates from established procedures, it could impact liability.
  2. Reasonable and Necessary: The pursuit must be deemed reasonable and necessary given the circumstances. If the officer had a valid reason to initiate the chase, it may affect liability. Factors such as the severity of the crime, danger posed by the suspect, and potential harm to the public are considered.
  3. Recklessness: If the pursuing officer acts recklessly or with deliberate indifference to public safety, it could increase liability. For example, if the officer continues the chase at high speeds through crowded areas without adequate justification, this may be viewed as reckless behavior.
  4. Third-Party Injuries or Damages: If the police chase results in injuries or damages to innocent bystanders or their property, the liability of the police department may come into question. Establishing a causal connection between the chase and the harm is crucial.
  5. Immunity: In some jurisdictions, there may be legal immunities that protect law enforcement agencies and officers from certain types of lawsuits. These immunities are often designed to shield officers from personal liability when performing their duties in good faith.

It’s important to note that laws regarding police chase liability can vary, and legal outcomes depend on the specific details of each case. If you’re involved in or affected by a police chase, it’s advisable to consult with a legal professional who can provide guidance based on the relevant laws in your jurisdiction.





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