Disparti Law Group is representing a bicycle accident victim in a case against a Chicago policeman and the City of Chicago. The defendants asked the judge to dismiss the case, claiming tort immunity because the officer was “executing and enforcing the law” at the time of the accident. However, the plaintiff and his attorneys allege that the facts of the case counter the defendant’s immunity argument.
On the day of the accident, the defendant and his partner were working an unusual shift as part of the Voluntary Violence Reduction Initiative. The officers were driving uncommon vehicles with limited computer and communications systems. That evening, the defendant received a call over the radio that another officer in the area had embarked on a foot pursuit.
Without communicating his intentions to the other officers, the defendant proceeded to the location of the foot pursuit. While following his supervising officer’s vehicle into a left turn, the defendant struck the plaintiff and his bicycle.
The plaintiff and his attorneys allege that the defendant’s view of the left turn was obstructed by his close proximity to the officer’s vehicle. Additionally, it was raining at the time, and the defendant does not recall if the windshield wipers were on nor if the left-hand turn signal was used. Neither his emergency lights nor sirens were enabled at the time of the accident.
Under §2-202 of the Tort Immunity Act, public employees are not liable for injuries they cause “in the execution or enforcement of any law” unless their behavior is “willful and wanton.” Because the defendant was a police officer on duty at the time of the accident, he claimed immunity and filed a Motion for Summary Judgement.
The plaintiff and his attorneys dispute this immunity claim based on the circumstances of the pursuit. Firstly, the defendant was not acting as a regular patrol officer at the time and therefore had no requirement to respond to the call. In fact, his supervising officer had no explanation as to why the defendant had followed him.
The plaintiff furthermore claims that the defendant was operating the vehicle in a willful and wanton manner by failing to use the emergency lights or sirens. This behavior not only violated Chicago Police Department written policy but was negligent with regards to conventional traffic laws.
In cases involving the negligence of governmental entities or employees, it can be critical to seek the advice and counsel of a qualified lawyer. Personal injury cases against the government can quickly become complex, as they are often subject to strict deadlines, unique procedures, and immunity claims.
Accident victims deserve fair compensation even when taking on the government. If you were hurt in a car, bicycle, or pedestrian accident caused by another’s negligence, call Disparti Law Group for a free, no-obligation consultation.