May 1, 2019
Pitts Carr and Alex Weatherby
$700,000 Settlement in High Speed Police Chase
Our firm, along with several others, secured a $700,000 settlement in a high speed police chase for our clients. This is the maximum allowed by law. We are not revealing the names of our clients for their privacy.
Although we secured the maximum recovery possible, this was a tragic case involving seriously injured children. High speed police chases should be avoided at all costs. On average, one person per day dies from a high speed chase, many of them innocent bystanders and some children.
With today’s technology, there is minimal justification for such a chase, particularly when the offense is a mere traffic violation, like speeding, as it was in our case. Police officers generally have the tag information and can quickly track down an offender after backing off the chase. By engaging in a high speed pursuit, the police officer and the criminal’s cars become missiles on the roadway. A wreck at these high speeds often leads to serious injury or death.
Under Georgia law, an innocent person injured from a high speed chase may have a claim against the police department. Even when engaged in a high speed chase, “the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle” is “not relieve[d]” “from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons.” O.C.G.A. § 40-6-6(d)(1). An innocent third party may bring a claim when “the law enforcement officer acted with reckless disregard for proper law enforcement procedures in the officer’s decision to initiate or continue the pursuit.” Id. at (d)(2).