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Did you suffer an injury or damage to your vehicle because of a police pursuit accident in Taylorsville, Utah? If so, you likely have questions about who is liable for the damages. Utah has specific laws governing car accidents, and the liability question can affect your actions to recover your losses. To better understand how tort law governs these cases and learn the avenues to compensation available to you, schedule your free consultation with a police chase car accident lawyer.
When a suspect is on the run, the police in Taylorsville, Utah, can pursue them, and while the suspect is clearly driving negligently, the police have more legal leeway. This does not mean the police cannot be held responsible for damages if they hit a person or vehicle during the pursuit. Officers should use their best judgment only to pursue people within a reasonably safe setting. Police agencies are free to set rules restricting or allowing police pursuits. However, most would consider it unreasonable to conduct a high-speed chase through the following:
Officers have a certain amount of discretion when deciding whether it is safe to pursue. When an innocent driver or bystander suffers an injury or property damage because of a police pursuit, the court will consider the unique details of the case. If the officer is at-fault for the accident, the court will evaluate the officer’s actions based on several factors, including whether they acted within reason.
If the suspect collides with your vehicle during the pursuit, you could potentially file a lawsuit against the driver or file a claim with the driver’s insurance. However, several factors can affect your ability to recover your losses. For example, if the suspect is on the run in a stolen vehicle, any liability insurance they may have will likely not cover damages. If they have no insurance, your only option is to file a lawsuit against them or seek compensation through your own insurance. In addition, the likelihood that they would be able to pay any substantial damages is significantly lower than the average person, given that they will likely face criminal charges for running from the police.
When you file a lawsuit or claim against the at-fault party in your case, you are responsible for proving that they were negligent. This means your claim must meet all four components of negligence:
Without these four components, you cannot hold the defendant liable for damages, and when the police officer is at fault, proving they violated their duty of care can be more difficult. Again, a police chase car accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to verify your claim.
Utah is one of only a dozen states that require all drivers to carry no-fault auto insurance, called personal injury protection coverage. This is particularly helpful in a police chase accident case because it allows you to recover your damages without the burden of proving fault.
Utah’s no-fault auto insurance policy minimum requirement for coverage is $3,000 per person for medical expenses, a $3,000 death benefit for the surviving heir of someone who died as a result of the accident, $1,500 for funeral and burial costs, and $20 per day for services needed during recovery. Additionally, PIP insurance will cover 85% of lost income up to $250 per week if your injury results in missed work. However, these are just the minimum requirement. In addition, you can purchase limits of up to $100,000 to cover damages. PIP insurance also covers the driver and their passengers.
If the injuries you sustained were severe, you can likely step outside the PIP claim requirement and file a lawsuit against the at-fault party in your case. The state set a serious injury threshold to judge when this is possible. According to this rule, if your injuries incur medical expenses exceeding the $3,000 limit and cause permanent disability, disfigurement, impairment, or dismemberment, you do not need to adhere to the no-fault requirement.
According to personal injury law, the losses you recover are known as compensatory damages. This includes any economic or non-economic losses directly related to your accident and injuries. Under PIP insurance, you cannot recover non-economic losses and only have access to a percentage of your lost income. When you file a lawsuit, it fills those gaps, increasing your access to damages.
Compensatory damages include monetary and psychological losses. Examples include:
If you have questions about the damages available in your case, a personal injury attorney can help you identify and prove your losses.
Collisions from police chase accidents are far from the standard auto accident. When you suffer severe injuries with resulting damages your no-fault insurance cannot cover, you likely have questions about the next steps available to you. A car accident attorney can help you understand the losses you can recover and the avenues of compensation available to you. Some other essential tasks they perform include:
No matter how complex the case may be, an experienced car accident lawyer can at least offer you answers to your questions about the case and guide you in the right direction. Before you do anything else, consider speaking with an accident attorney. At Fielding Law, we offer no-obligation consultations, meaning you can present all your questions and get the answers with no pressure to work with us, just peace of mind. Should we work together, our legal team will give your case the attention it needs and fight to protect your right to compensation. Contact Fielding Law at (877) 880-4090 for your free consultation today.