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Police Officers Have Duty to Drive Safely, Even When Responding to Emergencies

All drivers have a duty to operate their motor vehicles in Florida in a careful and prudent manner under the circumstances. This duty extends to everyone, including to police officers driving police cars, whether or not they are responding to an emergency and whether or not the emergency lights are activated. A police officer’s failure to take the necessary precautions when operating a patrol car may result in the officer, the department, or the city being liable for a victim’s injuries through a South Florida personal injury lawsuit.

Police SirensDuty of Reasonable Care

To establish a negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove that a defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, that the defendant breached that duty, that the breach of that duty caused the plaintiff’s damages, and that the plaintiff has quantifiable damages. A defendant’s “duty of care” in favor of a plaintiff can arise from four sources:  state laws and regulations, judicial interpretations of laws or regulations, other judicial decisions, or a duty arising out of the specific facts of the case.

Police officers must drive carefully and prudently while operating police vehicles, even when responding to emergencies. In fact, if a police officer is driving in a more dangerous situation, like driving through red lights, the officer may have a heightened duty because, as the risk of harm grows to others, a driver’s duty of care is heightened. Police officers owe a duty to exercise reasonable care in carrying out their duties, including a duty to protect innocent bystanders if their police duties create a foreseeable zone of risk. For example, police officers in Florida have been found to have a duty when police were engaged in a high-speed chase and killed innocent motorists, as well as when police were chasing someone on foot and injured a pedestrian. Florida courts have also determined that police do not have to have a person “in custody” to owe the person a duty of care.

Police Officer Involved in Crash While Responding to Police Call

According to one news source, a police officer was involved in a car crash in Miami on a recent Sunday evening. Just after 6 p.m., the officer responded to a call to assist another police officer in a traffic stop. As the officer was driving to the traffic stop, he was involved in a crash with a black Cadillac. Both drivers were heading northbound on 27th Avenue and were taken to the hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening. Officials have not said which driver was at fault for the accident. This crash occurred just a month after another police-involved crash in which an officer and another driver collided, killing a 71-year-old man.

Discuss Your Claim with Skilled Attorneys

If you were injured in a South Florida car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys at Cecere Santana have helped countless Florida residents injured by the careless actions of others. Since personal injury claims must be brought within a certain time period, it is important to act quickly and to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Whether you were injured in a car crash, a work accident, or another incident resulting from someone else’s careless conduct, Cecere Santana can help. To set up a meeting to discuss how we can help, call us at (800) 753-5529 or fill out our contact form online.

More Blog Posts:

Florida Driver’s Van Hit by Fallen Metal from Overpass, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 14, 2017.

Florida Children Exposed to Toxic Gas at Indoor Pool, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 7, 2017.

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