High-speed chases involving police officers are dangerous, not only for the police personnel but for nearby pedestrians and motorists. Innocent bystanders are often involved in accidents caused by high-speed pursuits, and the results can be catastrophic and result in severe, life-threatening injuries.
High-Speed Crash in Brown County
In 2012, a Brown County sheriff's deputy was involved in a high-speed chase that resulted in a third-party vehicle being broadsided by the patrol car. At one point during the chase, the cars were traveling at over 100 mph
The couple in the third vehicle suffered life-threatening and permanent injuries, including a ruptured spleen and bladder, broken neck, broken ribs, collapsed lung, torn colon, and significant blood loss. They are now suing for $5.37 million for the woman's injuries, medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They are also seeking additional compensation for the man's medical expenses and pain and suffering, and lost wages.
The Brown County case is one example of the dangers of police pursuits. Innocent bystanders account for one-third of those killed in accidents caused by high-speed police chases. Approximately 40 percent of police chases end in accidents—often catastrophic due to the speed at which the vehicles travel.
The number of fatalities caused by high-speed police pursuits in 2010 was 340; however, this statistic is very deceiving. Innocent bystanders (pedestrians or motorists) are not counted in the death and injury toll for police chases.
While some police departments have begun adopting restrictive policies towards high-speed police pursuits, the danger to bystanders remains. Filing a lawsuit against county officials or police officers is a challenging effort. In this case, the county attorney denied the victims' initial claim and said there was no basis for liability to pursue action against the sheriff's office.
Furthermore, several states, counties, municipalities, and cities have laws in place that immunize their employees from liability or harm caused in the course of employment (i.e. when a police officer is on duty). There are also very strict time constraints in place with regard to filing a claim against a state, county, or municipality. An experienced attorney can help.
Contact a Wisconsin Auto Accident Attorney for a Consultation on Your Case
If you are injured in an auto accident, please contact an experienced Appleton auto accident attorney or Green Bay auto accident attorney at Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. With offices located in Appleton, Green Bay, and Oshkosh, we are well versed in the local laws governing county officials/employees and can help you recover the maximum amount for your injuries and costs. It is imperative that you contact us quickly so that we may begin filing a claim within the statute of limitations provided by Wisconsin law.