Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 at 3:34 pm
During a vehicle pursuit near Forestdale, Alabama, a Birmingham Police officer collided with a sedan filled with two adults and three children, before continuing on to crash into into an Exxon gas station. The accident happened Saturday around 4pm on Highway 78 at the intersection of Heflin Avenue. All six people involved in the car accident were taken to nearby hospitals. The police officer regained consciousness when he arrived at the hospital. The severity of the injuries is unknown at this time.
With many parties involved, what happens now?
WBRC Fox6’s LawCall Host, Tiffany Bittner, interviews Attorney Ken Riley.
TIFFANY BITTNER: Ken, in this situation where the people in the sedan were injured during a vehicle pursuit, who is liable? Is the police officer or the car that they were chasing at fault?
KEN RILEY: We do not know all of the facts about the accident, but if I were representing them, I would ask a lot of questions about how the accident happened. Even officers are held to a negligence standard in Alabama if they exceed the authority. If they are in an emergency chase, they still have a duty of reasonable care to other innocent third parties. There are guidelines that police officers must follow when electing to pursue a vehicle in a high-speed chase. The officer, along with the city, county or state that employs them, may be liable for damages caused during the pursuit.
TIFFANY BITTNER: What about the vehicle that the police officer was chasing? Could they be liable for the accident between the sedan and the police officer?
KEN RILEY: The driver of the vehicle, as well as the vehicle’s owner and insurance companies can be required to pay a settlement or judgment if their actions contributed to cause the wreck, injuries and damages or even death.
TIFFANY BITTNER: What do you recommend that the injured parties do now?
KEN RILEY: The next natural step for them is to get the accident report and reach out to their own auto insurance company. Because of the complexity of handling cases against municipalities, I would contact an attorney immediately – you only have 6 months to file a notice of claim against a municipality.
TIFFANY BITTNER: I hope no one involved endured life-threatening injuries and everyone had on their seatbelts to help brace for the impact. Ken, how many cases do you see a year where someone’s injuries were worsened by not having their seatbelt on?
KEN RILEY: With the safety features becoming standard in new cars, we are seeing less and less clients who were not wearing their seatbelt during their auto accident. However, it does still happen, and it always pains me to see someone suffer when the severity could have been prevented. Seatbelts save lives, period.
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Disclaimer: The intent of this post is to provide general information to our readers and to help improve the safety and quality of life for those who live in our state. At Farris, Riley & Pitt, we intend to honor those who are victimized in accidents across Alabama. We aim to provide up to date information to the public surrounding these incidents in hopes of helping others avoid becoming victims themselves. If anyone is involved in an accident, we would like to make sure they know how to respond, should a tragedy occur. Information in this post, should not be considered legal or medical advice. You should seek further assistance from a Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP lawyer or medical professional if you or a loved one is a victim in an accident. Any photos depicted in these posts are not representative of the actual accident scene.