When two cars collide and someone is injured, the legal implications can be complex, but when one of the vehicles involved is an emergency responder, such as a police car or an ambulance, this can contribute many new complications. Multi-vehicle accidents are more complicated still. And, when there is a multi-vehicle accident involving emergency responders, it can present an extraordinarily complicated legal case.
Seven people were injured recently in a multi-vehicle accident on a Nashville road as police chased a man in connection with a major drug bust.
According to reports, Nashville police and DEA agents seized an estimated $700,000 worth of cocaine from a storage facility on Brick Church Pike. As part of that operation, police pursued a man driving a Hyundai sedan. Police said they were not speeding during the chase, but the Hyundai struck a Metro Transit Authority van meant for passengers with special needs. A driver and three passengers were injured in the van, police said. The car then ran into another car, injuring another three people, including two children, according to police. The seven people were treated and released from local hospitals later that night.
Oddly, this was not the only car accident associated with the drug bust. According to police, two law enforcement vehicles ran into each other at the scene where the drugs were seized. One police officer was treated for dizziness after that accident.
Personal injury lawsuits involving car accidents are built on the legal theory of negligence. Drivers are liable for the damages if their negligence was the cause of the accident. Drivers act negligently when they fail to exercise the same level of care that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances, and someone is injured as a result.
It's important to remember that not all collisions are caused by negligence. There are accidents in which one car hits another and there is nothing that a reasonable person could have done differently that would have prevented it. This is the case in many multi-vehicle accidents, especially chain-reaction collisions.
It's also important to remember that emergency responders typically enjoy some level of immunity from liability when they contribute to an accident while responding to an emergency. Typically, there is a cap on the amount of damages for which they or their employer may be found liable.
There are many factors to consider before filing a personal injury lawsuit. It's important that Nashville residents get help understanding how the laws relate to the unique circumstances of their case.
Source: The Tennessean, "Seven injured in Nashville crash as suspect flees drug bust," Adam Tamburin and Brain Wilson, Aug. 22, 2013