What recourse does a citizen have if hit by a police officer's car during a stolen vehicle pursuit?

Asked about 1 year ago - El Cajon, CA

Daughter was stopped and waiting to turn. Vehicle being chased passed by at great speed, one police car passed, and both went on wrong side of road. 2nd police vehicle was already on wrong side of road and struck my daughter's vehicle. Officer admitted fault to hitting her, Driver of stolen vehicle was eventually arrested. She has insurance, but no gap insurance, no rental clause, has back pain, no medical insurance, had missed some work, had to borrow vehicle, has 3 kids, (youngest was also in vehicle), and not a lot of extra money. And her car was totaled. What recourse does she have?

Attorney answers (13)

  1. William Peter Daley

    Contributor Level 17

    15

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In general there would have to be some showing of negligence or gross negligence on the part of the officer who is doing the driving. This is something that you should discuss in person with a local personal injury attorney.

    http://lawofficeofwilliamdaley.com/san-diego-pe...

    I will be happy to speak with you at no cost with a FREE phone consultation if you have a San Diego or California... more
  2. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    16

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Retain a local personal injury lawyer quickly, as there are short notice requirements in these cases.

  3. Aalok Sikand

    Contributor Level 12

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to file a claim immediately. Claims against public entities have strict and very short time limits. Contact one of us immediately. Best of luck to you and your family.

    Free consultation. Direct line- 855-637-0938 .24/7. Video/Phone/In-Person. aalok.sikand@gmail.com. I provide my... more
  4. David Lee Fiol

    Contributor Level 17

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In addition to considering making a claim for negligence against the police officers and their government employers, which your daughter must file within six months of the accident, speak to an attorney about filing a claim for restitution in the criminal case against the driver who was fleeing the police, and or crime victim's compensation from the State of California (http://www.vcgcb.ca.gov/).

  5. Manuel Alzamora Juarez

    Contributor Level 20

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Get a local lawyer and let him advice you . Do it fast as the Statute of Limitations Clock is already ticking. You have six months from the day of the accident to file against the police and the City. You have two years to file against the arrestee's insurance policy. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de... more
  6. Ajay Mohan Kwatra

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . She has 6 months from the date of injury to being a claim against the PD.

  7. David Phillip Beeson

    Contributor Level 10

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your daughter should immediately consult with a San Diego based personal injury attorney. There are short time frames involved in making a claim against a government entity. However, there may also be other sources of recovery including those in her own auto insurance policy.

    The responses here are not intended as legal advice. Do not rely upon the responses herein. Consult an attorney... more
  8. James Michael Bergener

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Well this case will be more complicated and have shorter time constraints. If it can be shown that the police officer was negligent when operating the vehicle during the chase, then yes you would have a claim. Hiring an attorney is crucial though, and it will be a lot more difficult without the advice of a professional. I suggest you contact myself or another personal injury attorney here and let us evaluate your case. Once we know the specific facts, we can paint you a better picture. Personal injurys attorneys like myself work off of contingency fees, meaning we won't charge you anything until we win you money in settlement or verdict.

    The information provided here is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on... more
  9. Paul J Molinaro

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . While cops are supposed to catch thieves driving getaway cars, cops are supposed to do so without harming others... which means not making the chase look like a scene from Fast 'n Furious. Police departments can be held liable and made to pay for damages caused by their lack of due care during a police chase - and that means paying for property damage and physical injuries. Should one be hurt in such an event (and one's children also be hurt), one should get medical attention and then hire a personal injury lawyer.

    Fortunately, most of us personal injury types offer free consultations and take such cases on contingency no matter where the case is in California, so there is nothing to fear in calling us.

    - Paul

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
    Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
    Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
    4160 Temescal Canyon Road, Suite 306
    Corona, CA 92833
    (951)520-9684
    www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com

    "When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW."

    * This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy.
    ** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law and does so anywhere in the State of California.

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito... more
  10. Richard Andrew Harting

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You should immediately consult an attorney immediately. I claim must be filed within 6 months of the incident against the appropriate government agencies/entities. Also given there can be immunities that apply in these situations, your daughter may have a viable uninsured motorist claim. Lastly, a restitution order can be made in criminal court for your daughter's out of pocket damages (only)- no pain and suffering

  11. Scott J. Corwin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As Mr. Molinaro explained, the driver of the police vehicle has a responsibility to keep others on the road safe during a pursuit. That being said, just because she was hit, does not absolve her of responsibility or fault for that matter during the accident. To review her options, she should schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney to review her options and answer further questions.

    She should continue medical treatment as per the advice of her treating clinicians. There may be another claim for her child as well; that would be another claim worth investigating with an experienced car accident attorney. As the previous attorneys have stated, the statute of limitations should not be ignored as she has limited time to file your claim. I wish her the best of luck and I hope that she finds the counsel she deserves.

  12. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Tell your daughter to obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.
  13. Jacob Brian Smith

    Contributor Level 16

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your daughter needs to contact a personal injury attorney ASAP. It does not matter that she does not have a lot of money as most personal injury attorneys work on what is called a "contingency fee" basis. This means she does not pay for the attorney's time until or unless she recovers money.

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