First responders had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate an innocent bystander from the wreckage of her vehicle after she was seriously injured in a police pursuit.
In mid afternoon, an officer spotted a carjacking suspect fleeing the scene of a crime in the 500 block of East Sahara Avenue. The suspect rear-ended a bystander but continued running. Officers continued their high-speed pursuit. The chase ended near the intersection of Sierra Vista Drive and Swenson Street. Pursuing officers blew through a red light and smashed into a 1997 Toyota Corolla, which had the green light and was in the intersection. After they extricated her from the vehicle, first responders rushed 46-year-old Delilah Coleman to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.
Officers took the suspect into custody.
High Speed Chases in Nevada
Wrongful police shootings seriously injure many people every year. Quite understandably, these incidents receive a great deal of attention in the media. For some reason, that’s not true of police chase injuries, even though the number of police chase injuries vastly outweighs the number of wrongful shooting injuries.
Reckless police chases have been a serious problem for a long time. As early as the 1990s, the Justice Department labeled such incidents as the most dangerous police activity. That even includes shootings. On the record, officers usually point out that they cannot selectively enforce the laws by chasing some suspects and letting others go. Off the record, these officers often admit that they enjoy the thrill of the chase.
In both police shootings and police chases, officers have a great deal of latitude. Nevertheless, there is still a line. In shooting cases, that line usually involves excessive force. As for police chase situations, that line involves negligence. Some specific kinds of negligence include:
- Notice of Danger: In the above story, the suspect had already caused one car crash before the injury collision in the intersection. That first crash should have put sensible officers on notice that the chase had high risks.
- Extreme Recklessness: Usually, this inquiry involves a balancing act. A Las Vegas jury must basically consider the nature of the chase (g. was the suspect a violent felon or a double-parker) against the risk to others (e.g. time of day and amount of traffic).
- Policy Violation: Some agencies have strict no-pursuit policies. Other times, there may be an ad hoc policy, such as a dispatcher’s “do not pursue” directive.
In all these cases, there must be sufficient evidence to overcome the official immunity provisions embedded in the sovereign immunity doctrine.
Car Crash Damages Available in Nevada
In a serious injury collision like the one in the above story, hospitalization alone could cost more than $100,000. Follow-up medical care, lost wages, physical therapy, and other expenses could total tens of thousands of dollars more.
Las Vegas car crash victims are entitled to compensation for all these economic losses. These victims need only establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
Car crashes do not just cause economic losses. There are noneconomic losses as well, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, emotional distress, and loss of consortium (companionship). It is difficult to place a dollar amount on these losses. However, money damages are the only possible remedy, so financial compensation is available for these items as well.
Count On an Experienced Lawyer
Police officers have leeway when pursuing suspects, but that leeway has limits. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. We routinely handle matter in Clark County and nearby jurisdictions.