New York City recently agreed to pay more than $250,000 to settle a civil lawsuit brought by a Bronx man who was injured in a police pursuit which ultimately resulted in the death of a close friend. The incident, which took place on August 11, 2012 in Hunts Point, started when police saw the suspects driving an unlicensed dirt bike. The incident quickly escalated into a tragedy when an NYPD officer slammed into the dirt bike on which the two men were riding. Soon thereafter, an investigation conducted by the NYPD Internal Affairs department concluded that the incident was simply an accident not predicated on criminal intent.
Police officers in pursuit of a suspect are not generally bound to traditional traffic rules, including speed limits, stop lights, etc. However, the same principles of recklessness and negligence still apply - recklessness is determined if an individual was aware of the danger of their action yet chose to act anyway, whereas negligence refers to when a person fails to foresee the risk of their actions.
Separate from the aforementioned civil suit, an additional complaint of the incident was also filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB). The CCRB determined that the driving officer acted recklessly when he hit the victims with his police vehicle twice. The CCRB is an independent city agency, separate from the police department, which handles complaints about police misconduct and conducts investigations of such allegations. It is unclear what effect, if any, both investigations had on the civil suit settlement.
It is important that all New York residents are aware that any accident caused by either recklessness or negligence would likely be liable in civil court for compensatory damages and potentially punitive damages.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by someone else's negligence or recklessness, contact a skilled personal injury attorney today. The attorneys at Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP will afford you the representation you deserve and will fight protect your legal rights.