Risks to Bystanders: Police Chases and Stand-Offs

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Even if you are not directly involved in a police chase or a standoff, those who are “innocent bystanders” can also find themselves in the line of fire for potential accident or injury. While public officials do their best to restrain the public from moving closer to an actual or potential crime scene, there are always some who will want to be a part of the action by putting themselves in harm’s way. People often think that nothing will happen if they are not the ones being chased, or the ones having a conflict with the police force; they think nothing of moving in closer to get a better view of what is happening. But doing so may not be so smart.

Police chases take on a different situation at every turn. Their course is unpredictable and their actions are even more unpredictable. They will do whatever they can to make sure that the lawbreakers refrain from hurting others. Vehicles involved in chases have been known to hit other vehicles, drive up on curbs, cause rollovers, and run down pedestrians, posts and trees. A standoff between a gunman and the police can go seriously wrong depending on various factors: the mental state of the gunman, whether or not there are hostages involved, the reason for the standoff, and the line of fire from any gunshots that may have been fired. Spectators and bystanders should stay out of the way, but we know that doesn’t always happen.

If you are in the middle of a police standoff or a police chase, here are some things you can do to add to your own safety so that you, too, do not become a victim:

  • No matter how curious you are, listen to the instructions of the public officials and go where they tell you to go.
  • It maybe tempting to be a part of a police chase, or to think that your driving may be able to “stop the bad guy” but doing so may further impede the police from doing their jobs, and you may cause injury to yourself an others in the process.
  • Do not try to distract anyone on the scene of a standoff or a chase. Chances are there is a plan in place on how the officials will handle the situation. Let them do their jobs.
  • Move out of the way if you are on the road when a police chase is taking place.

People are injured all the time when they end up at the wrong place at the wrong time; and depending who the instigator was or how the situation unfolds, a personal injury lawsuit could be in the future. If you or someone you know was injured at the scene of a crime for which they were not involved, you may want to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney who can best assist you with your needs and determine the level of lawsuit ahead.