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Police Pursuits and Car Accidents: What You Need to Know

Police pursuits often make the news and while they may look dramatic, they are extremely dangerous for people nearby. Each year, these chases lead to car collisions in Miami and other cities. While police pursuits may be important in order to stop criminals, they can also be a huge danger for everyone on the road.


One 2004 study examined crashes involving police vehicles between 1994 and 2002. Researchers gathered data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and found that there were 2654 fatal police-pursuit-related collisions during the time frame, with about 3146 fatalities. About 1088 of these fatalities involved people who were not in the vehicle being pursued by police. According to researchers, most of the drivers fleeing from police had prior convictions and most of the chases occurred on local roads and at night. Most of the fatalities involved high speeds. Traffic-related deaths were the most common cause of police activity related fatalities.

While you cannot control the actions of others or predict where and when a police pursuit will take place, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of being injured:

1) Respect the sirens and lights of emergency vehicles.

As soon as you see lights and hear sirens, get out of the way. If the emergency vehicle is an ambulance, leaving a clear path can save someone’s life. If the emergency vehicle is a large fire truck or a police vehicle involved in a pursuit, getting out of the way can mean that you help authorities do their job as you stay safe. Stay out of the way until all emergency responders have passed. Keep in mind that there may be multiple vehicles involved in the pursuit.

2) Get out of the way of police pursuits.

Whether you are a pedestrian, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or motorist, stay away from police pursuits. Do not try to get closer to see what is happening. Keep in mind that police are focused on pursuit and may not notice you. The person they are pursuing also may not be paying attention to what is happening around them and likely has no experience in pursuits. The pursued can easily careen into other vehicles or onto the sidewalk, so stay clear.

3) If you are pulled over by a police officer, slow down at once and cooperate.

It is safer for everyone, including yourself. If you feel that the stop is unjust, keep in mind that you can always get an attorney (or have an attorney provided for you) after the fact. It is always safer to deal with legal issues rather than attempt to flee police.

Have you been injured in a police pursuit or by an emergency vehicle? You may have rights to compensation for your injuries, but in these cases you will generally need to face a municipality and large insurance carriers. To get fair compensation in these cases, it is useful to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side. The attorneys at Flaxman Law Group have more than six decades of combined experience handling all types of car accident and personal injury cases. If you would like to know what remedies exist for your losses, contact our law firm for a no cost, no commitment case evaluation.