Police pursuit cases can unnecessarily claim many innocent lives and cause thousands of serious injuries every year. Until recently, the defendant police departments have made good faith arguments in court against liability based on these premises:
1) Unless the police car intentionally touched the fleeing suspect’s car, there can be no waiver of liability under Georgia Code Section O.C.G.A. § 33-24-51 for negligence;
2) If the fleeing suspect causes a wreck after fleeing, the suspect’s decision to flee rather than the police officer’s decision to pursue the suspect is, by law, the cause of the wreck; and
3) Negligence and reckless disregard are completely different standards of liability. If the Plaintiffs rely on the negligent use waiver under O.C.G.A. § 33-24-51 discussed above, then the Plaintiff is precluded from establishing the requisite reckless disregard standard under Georgia Code Section O.C.G.A. § 40-6-6(d).
The Georgia Court of Appeals addressed all of these arguments in McCobb v. Clayton County, 2011 WL 1348398, and ruled that none of these arguments are sound.
This is a great victory for justice and allows victims who are catastrophically injured due to unwarranted and/or unsafe police pursuits to be able to pursue legal claims for their injuries.
As a former Military Policeman who has pursued criminals in police pursuit situations and who has seen the deadly effects of high-speed chases, I know that there has to be a fine balancing act between aggressively pursuing criminals who are fleeing police in a car at high speeds, and protecting innocent citizens from injury or death.
Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.