Aug 132012

This past Friday, an alleged bank robber was apprehended after a chase that started in Jenkintown and ended in North Philadelphia. One officer was injured. The suspect’s vehicle struck a light pole before the suspect fled on foot. He was caught shortly after.

Police chases are inherently dangerous, especially in robbery situations, where a suspect is attempting to flee after robbing a store or bank. Oftentimes, an innocent bystander may be injured. For example, a fleeing suspect may run a red light and strike oncoming traffic, or a fleeing suspect may strike a pedestrian crossing the street. Fortunately in this situation, it appears no innocent bystanders were injured.

Police Liability in Chase Situations in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, police departments or local agencies can be held liable for negligence in a police chase situation. There are two kinds of negligence in police chase situations: negligence in initiating a chase and negligence in pursuit. Both involve analyzing the specific department’s chase procedure and policy and determining whether the officer failed to follow the policy. A common issue in police chase cases is whether the officer received sufficient training on the department’s police chase policies. In general, a police chase ending in bystander injury is likely to have occurred because the chasing officer did not receive sufficient training.

What is Negligence in a Pennsylvania Police Chase Situation

What is negligent depends largely on the circumstances, specifically time of day and number of other cars and pedestrians on the streets. For instance, it may be negligent to drive through 30 intersections on a busy roadway at 100 miles per hour, in the middle of rush hour traffic. Whereas, at 3 a.m., the same conduct might not be negligent. Initiating a high speed police chase for a very minor traffic infraction may be negligent whereas initiating a high speed chase in a suspected homicide is not. Again, the circumstances of each case will determine whether the police acted negligently in a given chase situation.

Related Pennsylvania Police Chase Legal Articles:

For more information, contact a Pennsylvania police chase and accident lawyer.

The personal injury lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman handle cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area:

  • PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
  • NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities

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Published: August 13, 2012

Source:, “Abington officer hurt in crash with getaway car in Phila.” August 11, 2012

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