February 17, 2016
In a news item that's been years in the making, a member of the Calgary Police Service has been terminated from his position after a lengthy investigation into an accident that occurred during a high-speed car chase.
The accident itself occurred in December of 2008, when the police officer pulled over a truck for suspicion of impaired driving. The driver of the truck sped away from the traffic stop, and over the course of approximately an hour the officer in question gave pursuit, sometimes at high speeds through residential neighborhoods—something Calgary Police officials say is contrary to their policy.
Only when the truck was heading the wrong way down a street and collided with a taxi did the chase come to an end. The taxi driver suffered a cracked neck vertebra—a serious injury that can in many cases result in paralysis or even death—and was taken from the scene for treatment at a Calgary hospital. He eventually recovered from his injuries and was able to return to work.
The Complexity of Certain Calgary Personal Injury Cases
There's no indication that any civil suits have been filed against the driver of the truck, the police officer in this case, or the Calgary Police Service for the injuries caused to the taxi driver, yet this incident highlights the potential complexities of many personal injury cases and the concept of negligence in Calgary's personal injury laws.
First, the driver of the truck would, in a typical situation, almost certainly be deemed responsible for the accident: heading the wrong way down a street at high speeds (and possibly running a red light according to some accounts of the accident) means the driver is disobeying the rules of the road and not living up to the duty of care he owes to other drivers and pedestrians on Calgary's roads, and that means he could potentially be held civilly liable for the injuries caused.
The fact that he was fleeing from the Calgary Police would certainly not be an excuse for his negligent behavior.
At the same time, it could potentially be argued that the accident would not have occurred if the driver of the truck was not being chased by a Calgary Police vehicle, and thus that the officer involved in the incident was acting negligently, as well. The officer was charged with and ultimately pled guilty to the criminal charge of careless driving, in fact, and in many situations this could have an impact on civil cases, as well.
This case is made more complicated because the officer was not working for a private business but was acting in his capacity as a government official; had he been a private security officer involved in a high-speed chase, it is possible that he personally and perhaps even the company he worked for could have been held liable for the accident and injuries, even though his car was not the one that struck the taxi.
The Importance of Contacting a Calgary Personal Injury Lawyer
Details like these are what make every case unique, and why speculation about potential outcomes without all of the facts is so uncertain. If you've been seriously injured in a car accident in the Greater Calgary Area, discussing the specifics of your case with an experienced Calgary personal injury lawyer is essential to understanding your rights and setting the right expectations.
For a free initial consultation with a leading Calgary personal injury law firm, please contact Cuming & Gillespie today.
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