Police officers, like most government employees, are entitled to immunity from certain personal injury lawsuits under the doctrine of government immunity. This may even be the case when a police officer’s actions result in a serious injury or death. Government immunity does not apply in all situations, but in most cases, it will apply by default unless the injured party is able to show that the government employee’s conduct was reckless, intentional, or otherwise not qualified for immunity. A recent case illustrates how a court may apply government immunity to a police officer’s actions, defeating a personal injury plaintiff’s case.
Agrabrite was involved in a car accident when she was struck head-on by another motorist who was fleeing from the police at the time of the accident. The other motorist died in the collision, and Agrabrite was seriously injured. Agrabrite filed a personal injury lawsuit against several of the police officers involved in the chase, claiming that they were responsible for her injuries.
Before the case was submitted to a jury, the police officers sought summary judgment. They claimed that, as government employees, they were entitled to immunity from the lawsuit. In response, Agrabrite argued that the “wanton and reckless” conduct exhibited by the officers prevented immunity from attaching to the officers’ conduct.
The court outlined each officer’s involvement in the investigation and subsequent chase of the motorist who struck Agrabrite’s vehicle. Ultimately, the court determined that there was insufficient evidence to show that any of the officers violated protocol, and therefore the court could not say that their actions were “wanton or reckless.” As a result, the court agreed that the officers were entitled to government immunity, and Agrabrite’s case should be dismissed.
Police Officer Immunity in Florida
In Florida, police officers are entitled to immunity in cases involving injuries resulting from a high-speed chase only if certain circumstances are present. First, the officer must not have acted recklessly in the pursuit. Second, officers are only permitted to initiate a chase when pursuing those suspected of having committed certain “forcible felonies.” Finally, the officer must have followed police protocol in the initiation and execution of the pursuit. If any of these circumstances are not present, a police office will not likely be immune from liability, and anyone injured as a result of the officer’s decision to engage in the chase may be entitled to monetary compensation.
Have You Been Injured by Police or Another Government Employee?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an accident involving the police or some other government employee, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, government immunity is likely something that you will need to overcome. The skilled car accident attorneys at Cohn & Smith, PA have ample experience bringing cases against negligent government employees, agencies, and officials. We understand the unique landscape that these cases occupy, and we are prepared to fight for our clients’ right to recover compensation for their injuries. Call 954-431-8100 today to set up a free consultation.
Related Blog Posts:
Court Finds Farmer May Be Liable for Car Accident Death Caused by Escaped Livestock, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, January 10, 2017.
Federal Appellate Court Finds Insurance Company May Have Unreasonably Delayed Coverage, Exposing the Company to Additional Damages, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, December 1, 2016.